The Fish Skin


40 pages
ISBN 0-920534-94-5
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Brent Morrisseau
Reviewed by Jean Free

Jean Free, formerly an elementary-school teacher-librarian, is currently
a library consultant in Ontario.


Jamie Oliviero has retold a Cree legend of the Great Spirit
Wisahkecаhk, who assists a courageous young boy with the gift of a
magic fish skin that will save his dying grandmother from the extreme
heat of the sun. The boy is able to cause the rain to fall on his people
and rescue the tribe. A note at the conclusion of the legend reminds
readers of the Cree idea of the universe, in which a circle represents
harmony in nature as being essential to life.

Excitingly vivid full-page illustrations by Saulteaux Native artist
Brent Morrisseau interpret the ancient legend and depict the beavers,
wolves, turtles, and ravens of the Cree people in their northern
Manitoba community.

The Fish Skin would be a beautiful addition to a folklore collection
for readers ages 4 to 7, who could interpret Native legends and enjoy
the memorable illustrations of one of our outstanding Native artists. It
would also be useful for an intermediate Native Studies unit for
enrichment reading, art, or storytelling. Highly recommended.


Oliviero, Jamie., “The Fish Skin,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,