Raven Goes Berrypicking

Description

32 pages
$5.95
ISBN 1-55017-036-8
DDC j398.2'089'97071

Publisher

Year

1991

Contributor

Illustrations by Gaye Hammond
Reviewed by Laurence Steven

Laurence Steven is Chairman of the English Department at Laurentian
University and author of Dissociation and Wholeness in Patrick White’s
Fiction.

Review

With this book Cameron demonstrates that the best tales are the timeless
ones. Here she has taken a Native-Canadian myth and adapted it in a
manner that will entertain and educate primary-grade children.

The story centres on four birds: Gull, Cormorant, Puffin, and the
story’s antagonist Raven. Essentially, Raven tricks the other three
birds into doing copious amounts of work for her, then reaps the
benefits of her friends’ toils by eating, on her own, the four baskets
of berries that they have collected. Soon, Gull, Cormorant, and Puffin
realize that they have been taken advantage of, and force Raven to pay
them back for her gluttonous ways.

Hammond’s detailed yet striking black-and-white illustrations create
an easily recognizable cast of characters. From the perturbed grimace on
Puffin’s face, it is easy to deduce that Raven has really overstepped
the bounds of her friends’ tolerance.

Though this tale has been passed down orally by Native storytellers,
Cameron’s adaptation succeeds in making it accessible to children
without losing the union of morality and wonder found in indigenous
Canadian myth. Her story line is brisk, and the vocabulary is suitable
for four to seven-year-olds.

Citation

Cameron, Anne., “Raven Goes Berrypicking,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/24342.