Let’s Fly!

2 September 2021

Let’s Fly!: A Dragon’s Quest in Saskatoon
Written by Kathie Cram, Illustrated by Kas Rea
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$14.95 ISBN 9-781988-783697

Writer Kathie Cram and her illustrator Kas Rea have crafted a new book that celebrates Saskatoon through the adventures of two unlikely – and likeable – new friends, an inquisitive chickadee and a hopeful baby dragon. From the first page I surmised that the playful language in this book – “a very small bird found a very strange egg. Suddenly, it jiggled and wiggled and crackled and cracked” – would appeal to young ears. Cram’s a multi-genre Saskatoon writer who’s previously published adult fantasy and nonfiction, and she’s now working on a novel. Rea also lives in Saskatoon, where she’s a Bachelor of Fine Arts student at the University of Saskatchewan.

Using the tried-and-true children’s text formula of repetition, Cram has her friendly pair meeting other creatures as Red, the dragon, searches with Little Bird for the former’s family. The flying dragon soars above Saskatoon with the bird on her back, and the two make stops at popular Saskatoon landmarks, like Wanuskewin Heritage Park. The first landing’s bumpy. “‘Sorry. I am new to flying,’” Red tells the terrified Little Bird, who knows the area well and explains that Wanuskewin Heritage Park “‘is a gathering place that tells the story of the land and its first people, who have come here for thousands of years. There are exhibits to explore and trails to travel. There is lots to learn about Indigenous culture, and about the plants and animals who live here.’”

The two address a bison, and, because it possesses pointy horns like the purple-winged green dragon, the young dragon wonders if the animal is her brother. The pattern’s thus set for the introduction of more single-characteristic sameness between Red and other creatures. Could Red be related to the smoke-blowing “very large, very old steam engine” at the Western Development Museum? To the “flickering flames” in the “long glass cage” at the Remai Modern art museum, or the lizard – a bearded dragon – at the Forestry Farm Park and Zoo? (“‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ growled the lizard … I have rough scales and scratchy claws and a long tail like you. But I don’t have flappy wings and, actually, I’m scared of heights. I am not your grandma.’” Or will Red find her kin at the children’s museum called the Nutrien Wonderhub? Each creature thinks he/she knows of someone else who might be Red’s family member, and each time it’s Little Bird who peeps “‘I know. I know!’” and leads Red to the fresh suggestion with a “‘Come on, Red. Let’s fly!’”

Children anywhere should enjoy having this book read to them – or reading it on their own – but children familiar with Saskatoon will likely connect with it even more so. It would be fun to read the story with one’s children or grandchildren, then, over several days, explore the various destinations described in the book together.

Let’s Fly!: A Dragon’s Quest in Saskatoon has also been produced in a virtual format, read by the author and available on Youtube. A play is forthcoming, too!


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