From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-A boy has a special love for an old maple outside his house. He likes to climb its knobby trunk and curl up in his favorite notch, where he shares the tree's secrets: a hummingbird's nest, a chrysalis that metamorphoses into a butterfly, etc. At night, the tree lulls him to sleep. When a winter storm fells it, Solomon is disconsolate until his uncle shows him its spirit by carving a mask from one of its logs. Paintings on canvas and on wood capture the beauty and drama of this sensitively told story, a tribute to the recycling of life in Tsimpshian tradition. Wood panels inspired by a Northwest Canadian master carver partially frame the text, adding decorative touches.
Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. The Native American masks of the Pacific Northwest form a subtle backdrop for this book about coming to terms with grief. A young Native American boy has a maple tree that he particularly loves. The tree shows him wondrous things--a hummingbird's nest with tiny eggs and "golden leaves and winged seeds." Then a fierce storm topples the old maple, leaving the boy bereft. His uncle suggests that they capture the spirit of the tree by carving a wooden mask. As uncle and nephew work, the boy tells stories of the tree, and the uncle shares stories of the community. Once the mask is complete, the boy feels the tree lives on. The book ends with a description of the mask created for this story by a master Tsimpshian wood-carver. The robust art is exceptionally nice here, rich in fall colors and details that reflect the boy's culture. A telling cross-cultural lesson. Connie Fletcher
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