The Killick: A Newfoundland Story


32 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88776-336-7
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Geoff Butler
Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


George is a young boy who lives in a Newfoundland fishing village. He
spends a lot of time with his grandfather, Skipper Fred, a retired
fisherman. George and his grandpa make a boat trip out to a nearby
island. On the way home, their dory is damaged and then trapped in pack
ice. They climb onto the pack ice and huddle under the dory for shelter.
Skipper Fred now has what every lonely old person dreams of—a captive
audience. For the next three days George gets a relentless earful of
what Newfoundland used to be like.

A killick is a traditional Newfoundland home-made anchor constructed of
sticks and stones. Geoff Butler uses the killick as a double metaphor to
stand for the historic resourcefulness of the Newfoundland people and
for name calling. (George’s great-grandfather’s feelings were hurt
when people called him “a barbarian” for killing baby seals with a
club.) However, like most double metaphors, it may be confusing to
readers who are not completely familiar with the


Butler has established a solid reputation for his simple yet poignant
illustrations, and here they are very good. The result is that The
Killick is a beautiful book to look at but confusing to read. The plot
has just too much hanging on the double metaphor to make a clear point.
Not a first-choice purchase.


Butler, Geoff., “The Killick: A Newfoundland Story,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,