The Legend of the Caribou Boy.


40 pages
ISBN 978-1-894778-48-0
DDC 398.2089'972





Illustrations by Ray McSwain
Translated by Mary Rose Sundberg
Reviewed by Gregory Bryan

Gregory Bryan is a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.


The Legend of the Caribou Boy is the retelling of a traditional First Nation Dogrib tale, presented in both English and the Dogrib language. The story is about a young boy who is drawn toward a herd of Caribou. An interactive CD accompanies the book. Mary Rose Sundberg reads the text in Dogrib, while Dianne Lafferty provides the English narration. The deceased author, John Blondin, heard the story from his father, the respected Elder, George Blondin. Ray McSwain provided the illustrations for the book. Mary Rose Sundberg translated the English language text into the Dogrib language.


Although sparse on details, the simple text relates an interesting story. The illustrations are rendered in mixed media, including a combination of watercolour and acrylic on paper, amalgamated with some computer generated graphic designs. The contrast against the blue or brown backgrounds is striking. Indeed, the various shades of blue that dominate many of the illustrations are mesmerizing. I found they induced an almost dreamlike feel, perfectly in harmony with the tale relayed in the text. The artist, Ray McSwain, knows how to work with colour and to make colour work for him.


At book’s end, there is a four-page Dogrib orthography and pronunciation guide. Theytus Books’ willingness to share First Nation culture with a wider audience is admirable. This is an enjoyable book conveying a simple but engaging story. The Legend of the Caribou Boy will intrigue young children and appeal to older readers with an interest in First Nation legends.



Blondin, John, as told by George Blondin., “The Legend of the Caribou Boy.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,