Fiona French. Burley Gate, Herefordshire: Otter-Barry Books, hb, 9 781 910 959 930, 2018, £12.99, 32pp.
Fiction, picture book, 5+ years
This is a story of pride and anger, forgiveness and love. When Proud Girl refuses Bravest Warrior as a suitor, he becomes angry and creates Ice Man in revenge. Ice Man leads her into great danger, but Wild Wolf, her guardian spirit and the voice of the storyteller, comes to the rescue.
It is lovely to have a new book from the talented and Greenaway medal artist Fiona French. Wild Wolf is inspired by a traditional Algonquin tale, Moowis, and has been checked and approved by an Algonquin storyteller. Fiona French has carefully researched and been inspired by Algonquin art, beadwork, quillwork and embroidery. She absorbs details of this art into her more abstracted illustrations, made with oil crayon. The clothing is influenced by early paintings and 19th century photography of First Nation peoples. The main character, Proud Girl, wears bright colours to show her status as the Chief’s daughter but also to depict her youthful pride. The wolf’s face is beautifully drawn as part of the background of many of the pages. Each page is rich in illustration and the story is clearly and simply told.
Donations from the sales will be made to the Katarokwi Grandmothers’ Council of Kingston, Ontario.
Review by Pam Dix