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Author: Highway, Tomson
Illustrator: Flett, Julie
Publisher: Fifth House
Year Published: 2016
ISBN: 9781897252635
Grades: K-6

Dragonfly Kites Pimithaagansa

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But the dragonfly pets were their favourite.
At first glance of the book jacket, this book seems to speak of another country, where kite flying is a national sport.  However, this endearing story takes place in northern Manitoba, where two Cree brothers, Joe and Cody, along with their mother and father live among pristine nature.  Told in two languages, English and Cree, this story reminds us of the simpler and healthier way of traditional life. Each day, the boys discover the joys of the natural world; turning sticks and stones into friends and befriending Arctic wildlife. Their favourite activity is turning dragonflies into kites by carefully tying bits of string to them and letting them soar along and away. The joys of childhood imagination and the joys of life itself; fishing, dancing, singing, playing, come alive in a matter of fact manner, with the author keeping the text sparse. As the day closes, the boys go to sleep in their tent, where their dreams take flight and closely resembles their real life in northern Canada. This is the second book in the Magical Songs of the North Wind trilogy.  The other two titles should also be considered; Caribou Song/Atihko nikamon and Fox on the ice/Mahkesis miskwamihk e-cipatiapit. This book originally published in 2002 is refreshed in this version with significantly different illustrations.
The collage artwork by Cree-Metis artist, Julie Fleet, stays true to the natural colours of the northern landscape, using shades of blue, green and brown, contrasting with small amounts of red, yellow and white, in her illustrations.  The simplicity of the basic collage shapes matches this straightforward, gentle story about the uncomplicated delights of traditional aboriginal life.
This book is highly recommended for Alberta’s social studies curriculum; Grade 2: Communities in Canada and Grade 5: Canada: The Land, the History and Stories/Physical Geography of Canada. It is useful in helping young children (of all heritages) to understand the aboriginal perspectives of traditional living. This book is especially suited for teaching children how to play, without the use of technology and man-made toys or could be used as model for writing and creating art about personal experiences in the natural world.

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