See Both Reviews Listed Below of Water Walkers and Stepping Stones published by US Review
by Carol Trembath
illustrations by David W. Craig
Lakeside Publishing MI
reviewed by Barbara Bamberger
"Grandmother planned to walk around each of the Great Lakes, one by one. She taught me that it is our Ojibway people's custom to watch over and protect the water. I thought about Grandmother's words. I wondered how I could help."
Mai is a little Ojibway girl who wants to learn from her tribal elders. Her grandmother is going to walk around each of the Great Lakes, and she agrees to let Mai come along because "Even our little ones can make ripples and waves.” Mai's task is to fill a copper bucket with lake water each morning. This ritual is followed by Grandmother's prayers and songs. Mai notices that in one town there are lots of plastic bags in the water, a lesson in the problem of pollution. She observes that a family of deer have to walk farther than ever to get to the edge of the lake to drink, and a bear tries to catch fish and can't find any. Grandmother says Mai can help Mother Earth save the shrinking waters; she can be like the rabbit, not running far but taking long hops to reach out to children all over the world. Mai learns she can make ripples, teaching others about conserving water and picking up trash.
This is a beautifully illustrated book, with soft colorful drawings by Craig. Trembath's introduction relates that the story is based on factual information: The Mother Earth Water Walkers began their task of circling the Great Lakes in 2003, led by the Ojibway and other tribes indigenous to the area. The story includes symbols of the tribes and their spiritual beliefs. Written for older children and geared to increasing consciousness of ecological issues, the book has a glossary, some study questions, and a list of resources regarding the Water Walkers. With the lovely pictures and simple but instructive text, Water Walkers would make a great read-to study book forall.
by Carol Trembath
reviewed by John E. Roper
"We will walk to raise awareness of how important it is to take care of the water. We will circle the lakes to protect them for our children and grandchildren."
Mai's feet get tired as she trudges along the banks of the lake, yet she knows that what she is doing is important. A young member of the Ojibway tribe, she and others of her family and people have been walking around Lake Michigan along the ancient path of their ancestors in an effort to call attention to the need to preserve one our most precious natural resourcesâ€”water. Mai's job every morning is to pour lake water into the copper pail that the group will carry with them as they walk. Sometimes she picks up discarded bottles and cans while she goes along as that, too, is an important way to take care of the water. As she travels, Mai also finds or is given small, unique rocks that she tucks away in her memory bag. Each type of stone serves to remind her of a story from Ojibway culture relating to Mother Earth.
In this charming and beautifully illustrated children's story, the author pays homage to the real Mother Earth Water Walkers who have been circling the Great Lakes and walking along major rivers since 2003. Mai's curiosity is the vehicle Trembath uses to have Mai's grandmother share intriguing insights from Ojibway lore and the group's purpose in walking. The author supplements this teaching with helpful sections before and after the story that show and describe the specific rocks Mai encounters, explain the meaning of specific terms, offer links to a variety of resources, give aid to teachers of this material, etc. Helping to make the book memorable are David W. Craig's exquisite pictures which are, at times, reminiscent of the great Marcel Marlier's work in the French Martine series. Informative and inspiring, this book does an excellent job of calling attention to a vital ecological issue.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review