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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, written and illustrated by Danielle Daniel. Groundwood Books, 2015.18.95 ages 3 and up

"Sometimes I feel like a rabbit,
quick and alert.
I love to eat my carrots
 and leap into new adventures.

Sometimes I feel like a turtle,
slow and quiet.
I retreat into my shell
and find peace and solitude."

In her first book for children, and inspired by a wish to have her young son know more about his Anishinabe culture, Danielle Daniel offers a lovely look at her own aboriginal roots. In the tradition of the Anishinaabe people, all children belong to an animal clan. Their totem animal will be a guide throughout life, both spiritually and physically.

There are twelve totem animals introduced. The descriptions of each is poetic, four lines in length. They face the illustrated page of a child wearing a mask that represents the animal described. Using acrylic on canvas, she entices her audience to look closely at the masked children. The colors are strong, the faces full of expression, and the appeal evident.

Using poetry to describe the child and totem ensures careful word selection and apt descriptions. It invites young readers to make connections for themselves when comparing their behaviors to that of a totem. The animals are diverse, their character evident in the words.

In back matter, Ms. Daniel includes a full list of the animal totems and their most evident trait. Her author's note provides an excellent description for the traditional ways.

Simply beautiful, and fascinating for those wanting to know more about aboriginal culture!

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