wild-berries

Wild Berries by Julie Flett

Clarence has gone berry picking with his grandmother since he was a baby.  Now he is big enough to carry his own bucket as they walk and sing.  The two of them pick the berries, Grandma looking for the sweet ones and Clarence for the bigger, sour ones that pop.  They pick the berries and eat the berries.  Then Clarence looks around the woods and sees different insects, spiders, and a fox.  It is time to go home, they say thank you and walk back home together.

This book weaves Cree into the story, separating the words out and providing pronunciation information at the end of the book.  Even these few Cree words evoke a different feeling, a new rhythm that is powerful.  Flett tells a very simple story here about going out to pick berries in the forest.  Yet it is a timeless story, one the embraces wildlife, the environment, and giving thanks for the bounty of nature. 

Flett’s art is a beautiful mix of cut paper collage, texture and painting.  She manages to show the depth of the woods without darkness.  She uses bright colors that pop on Grandma’s red skirt and the red sun in the sky.  The grass is drawn in individual blades and the tree bark varies from paper art to marker lines.  Put together, it is a rich and beautiful book.

Simple, powerful and honest, this picture book celebrates Cree and nature together.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.