When The Trees Crackle with Cold Activity Book

12 July 2018

When the Trees Crackle with Cold: A Cree Seasons Activity Book
By Bernice Johnson-Laxdal and Miriam Körner
Review by Michelle Shaw
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
$12.95 ISBN 9781988783161

Created as a companion activity book to the award-winning When the Trees Crackle with Cold: A Cree Calendar, this book could equally stand alone as a wonderful introduction to the Cree language and culture for readers of all ages.

The first book by co-authors Bernice Johnson-Laxdal and Miriam Körner was a beautifully illustrated narrative of Bernice’s Cree childhood in northern Saskatchewan. The narrative of their book is based around the Cree calendar, which consists of six seasons divided into twelve moons, and Bernice’s family’s activities associated with each moon.

The activity book follows the same format with simple projects which deepen and complement the reader’s understanding of each of the activities described in the first book. Each page is black and white with a full-page illustration on one of the facing pages. Activities include making your own toy dog team, creating your very own geese flying in a V-formation, growing your own tomato plants, and even instructions on how to make your own moose call. There are also word searches in two of the Cree dialects, fill-in-the-blanks with Cree vocabulary and counting activities.

I think it’s a wonderful book to engage children of all ages in the natural world around them and fill them with excitement about the changing seasons. It’s also a fabulous way to introduce non-indigenous children to another culture which is so much a part of their lives in Saskatchewan.

The book is once again beautifully illustrated by photographer, writer and illustrator Miriam Körner. The illustrations made me want to grab a crayon and start coloring straight away!


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