West Coast Rhymes


32 pages
ISBN 0-7715-6954-8
DDC jC811'.54




Illustrations by April White

Elizabeth St. Jacques is the author of Echoes All Strung Out and
Survivors: The Great Depression, 1929-1939.


For this collection, Jenny Nelson, a Queen Charlotte Islands writer,
teacher, and environmental educator, teamed up with Haida artist April
White, a direct descendant of the famous Eagle Clan artist, Charles
Edenshaw. The combination is definitely a winning one.

These 17 poems, written from a Native perspective, contain all the
richness of language and special images one hopes to find in such
poetry. Delicate, colorful, and true to the Haida vision, they cherish
and respect Mother Earth and everything in her care. Consider these
wonderfully pleasing phrases: “Walking in the rainlight,” “wet
lace and palelight,” “mooncloud gold,” “moonclad cloud,”
“snowblack sky.” These are surely genuine reflections of the Haida
spirit. The delightful chantlike poem “Wild Feather” addresses a
bird’s feather floating through the air, while “Weaving the
Gathers” deals with making a basket out of willow branches, and
“Daffodil Tea” celebrates old age.

The collection would have benefited from the addition of footnotes to
explain Haida words, places, and customs; as it is, only one place is
defined. Also, words such as “thee” and “amongst” seem misplaced
in this volume. Nevertheless, children will enjoy curling up with a
beautifully produced book that will transport them into the land of
totem poles, wisecracking ravens, and an Indian Princess. Recommended.


Nelson, Jenny., “West Coast Rhymes,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/20482.