cover image Kunu's Basket: A Story From Indian Island

Kunu's Basket: A Story From Indian Island

Lee DeCora Francis, illus. by Susan Drucker. Tilbury House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-88448-330-4

Kunu and his family live on the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation in Maine. When Kunu attempts to make a traditional Penobscot basket from ash strips, he is frustrated that it doesn't come easily to him. But with his grandfather's gentle encouragement ("Can you guess how many tries it took for me to get the bottom just right?.... Seven tries! Take your time, gwos, and try again"), Kunu slowly develops confidence. Joining Kunu's lesson in basket-weaving is one about his family's history: basket-making has been passed down from grandfathers and fathers in the tribe throughout the decades. First-time author Francis emphasizes the value of cultural heritage in a straightforward tone that is earnest without becoming pedantic. Also making her debut, Drucker offers naturalistic images of Kunu and his family bathed in soft, golden light. Details of Kunu's family's suburban home (Kunu's basket gets filled with toys, and he wears a pair of purple Crocs) are gracefully juxtaposed with images of baskets from eras past holding fish, berries, potatoes, ferns, and more, suggesting that longstanding cultural traditions can be readily integrated into a contemporary lifestyle. Ages 5%E2%80%938. (May)