Using French explorer Jacques Cartier's journal as inspiration, Canadian historian and Anishinaabekwe Brittany Luby imagines the 16th-century meeting of a French sailor and a Stadaconan fisherman. Despite superficial differences like clothing, food and hair length, nature's creatures spy the mens' deep commonalities. They eat, swim and play together, their harmonious introduction needing no words, as the wildlife so keenly observes: " 'You are not so different,' squawked Seagull, who flew overhead. 'You both cast long shadows.' " As the two humans chase beluga whales along the shoreline, the aquatic mammals note, "You'd make a strong pod."
Luby shows her readers through playful, engaging text how choices can result in peace and prosperity even when there seem to be immense differences between individuals. Her stunning use of nature is a captivating reminder that point of view plays a significant role in what one sees (or doesn't see), noting that it's always worth looking from a new vantage point.
This rich story is made even more vibrant by the dazzling mixed-media illustrations of Tlingit citizen Michaela Goade (Shanyaak'utlaax: Salmon Boy). Her radiant colors and strong textures draw the eye and her changing perspectives mirror Luby's theme. Portraying the men's relationship from the sky like the seagull or from below like the mouse, viewing the men as a tasty treat like the mosquito or as comfortable in their own skin like the crab, the detailed art reinforces the value of viewpoint and heightens the beauty of this encounter in a way that will certainly delight young audiences. --Jen Forbus, freelancer