Jun 4, 2012

#TheList, No. 287: The Loon's Necklace

The Loon's Necklace is an origin story akin to Kipling's Just So Stories (how the elephant got it's trunk, etc.).  In this case, if you couldn't tell, it's about how the Loon got its pattern (speckled with a white collar - -the "necklace").  

The text is by William Toye, who retells this Tsimshian legend.  The text is rather straightforward.  I mean, you can't really confuse this exchange:
"The old woman beat me.  She found the meat I brought you."
"Forget about your beating.  I can see again, my son." 
I know the Father is referencing the fact that he can now provide for his family, but man, what a horribly comforting choice of dialogue.  Kids will love it! 

Anyway, the standout of this book is Elizabeth Cleaver's illustrations.  

First off, she's Canadian.  

Alright, now that's out of the way (I kid, I love Canadians).  Cleaver was a well-renowned illustrator and known for her mixture of American and Indian art and expressing nature amazingly well in her style.  I'm not super confidant describing art, but Children's Literature Review confirms that the illustrations in this book are watercolor with a woodcut effect, especially for the characters' faces (p. 58).  It's hard to explain and the book's cover doesn't give the inside illustrations any justice, but the illustrations make the book.  

Kids who like origin stories and/or kids who gravitate toward darker colors and imagery will enjoy this book.  The story is a little bleh, to use a technical term, but the illustrations could keep them captivated for some time.  

Yeah I did research for this:
"Elizabeth (Ann Mrazik) Cleaver (1939-1985)." Children’s Literature Review. Ed. Gerard J. Senick. Vol. 13. Detroit: Gale Research, 1987. 54-73. Literature Criticism Online. Gale. 

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