Soapstone Signs

Orca Book PublishersSKU: 9781459804005

Pinkney, Jeff
Grade Levels:
Two, Three, Four
Book Type:
Orca Book Publishers

Sale price$6.95
In stock


Soapstone Signs is a 2014 release from Orca Echoes series that offers short chapter books aimed at readers between ages seven and nine. These popular classroom favourites are well suited for social responsibility and character building programs. The author sets the story in a contemporary James Bay Cree community with a nine year old boy as narrator. The boy lives with his non-Native dad and his Cree mom at a tourist lodge. Each summer a respected older carver comes by the lodge to sell his soapstone carvings to the tourists. This summer the Elder named Lindy gives the boy four pieces of soapstone and explains that the artist must recognize each piece of soapstone already holds its true form inside. Lindy teaches the boy to listen to the soapstone and look to the world around him for signs as to what to carve. As the seasons change, the young boy's experiences lend him opportunities to develop his carving skills and become attuned to the signs around him. During the Cree seasonal round of activities the boy and his various family members pick blueberries, travel by canoe, hunt geese, and play hockey. The Elder's teachings make an impact on the first-time soapstone carver as well as sharing traditional knowledge and wisdom about the nature of listening and watching. Detailed black and white sketches by Coast Salish artist Darlene Gait aid the reader in understanding this easy chapter book. First-time author Jeff Pinkney writes convincingly about this Cree community activities and people. Some reviewers may want a fifth chapter to round out the story, but the author has wisely chosen to end the story with the boy successfully awaiting Lindy's return. The four animals the boy has carved reflect his personal accomplishments and he knows he listened and observed as the carver taught. Highly recommended.

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