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Review in Canadian Materials

This pair of books by Anne Cameron recount two legends of the Indians of the northwest coast. The author heard the stories from an old woman she met while growing up on Vancouver Island. As with many Indian legends, they explain why things are the way they are in nature.

How Raven Freed the Moon tells the story of Raven, the trickster, who cheats an old fisherwoman and her daughter out of their most priceless possession, the moon, which they had long guarded in a box. However, having stolen the moon, Raven is not strong enough to carry it all the way home, so he throws it into the sky. Thus, we are all able to share its silvery light.

In How the Loon Lost Her Voice, the most beautiful singer among all the animals has her vocal chords damaged in a fight with evil spirits. The spirits have stolen the daylight, and although the animals eventually recover it, the effects of the struggle are felt by each animal involved and its descendants.

The simple storyteller's style of writing in these books would appeal to a wide range of ages because, while the vocabulary is not too difficult for younger ones, neither is it too babyish for older children. The style is supported by the black-and-white illustrations of Tara Miller that recall the style of northwest coast native art. These books would be useful in a classroom for the study of myths and legends. They should also be added to any collection of materials concerned with native peoples.

-Sharon A. McLennan McCue, Canadian Materials