The Golden Pine Cone


191 pages
ISBN 1-55017-085-6
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Greta Guzek
Reviewed by E. Jane Philipps

E. Jane Philipps is the science librarian in the Biology Library at
Queen’s University.


Originally published in 1950, The Golden Pine Cone is the first of six
fantasies by British Columbia author Catherine Anthony Clark. This first
paperback edition returns a children’s classic to our shelves. Set in
the Kootenays and drawing its inspiration from Canadian landscape and
legend, this magical tale should appeal to a range of readers. The story
is one of quest as 9-year-old Lucy, 11-year-old Bren, and their
enchanted canine companion Ooshka journey through a familiar yet
otherworldly terrain to return a delicately crafted golden pine cone to
its rightful owner, the good and powerful spirit Tekontha. Clark peoples
the land through which the brother and sister travel with an intriguing
and finely delineated cast of characters. Fairy-tale creatures like the
pearl folk, the frogskins, the Lake Snake, and the Ice Witch coexist
with real-world figures and with characters like the Indian princess
Onamara, her giant husband, Nasookin, and Bill Buffer the Prospector,
who seem part of both real and spirit worlds. The strength of the work
lies in the skilful blending of fact and fantasy, which makes the story
and the many interwoven tales within the tale peculiarly believable.
Clark’s marvelous evocation of the natural world and its inhabitants
creates the thoroughly recognizable background against which the
children’s adventures unfold. Although certain aspects of the story,
like the delineation of male and female tasks and traits, are no longer
politically correct, they do not detract from the book, which should
find a place in every library. Recommended.


Clark, Catherine Anthony., “The Golden Pine Cone,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,