Morning on the Lake

Overview

In the first of three linked stories, a young boy and his grandfather set out in a canoe early one spring morning. Throughout the day, under the patient and gentle guidance of his grandfather, the boy gradually comes to respect the ways of nature and to understand his own place in the world. Tranquil illustrations by Karen Reczuch echo Waboose's poetic text, reflecting both artists' love and respect for the wonder of nature. Full color. 32 pp. Ages 4-9. Pub: 3/98.
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Overview

In the first of three linked stories, a young boy and his grandfather set out in a canoe early one spring morning. Throughout the day, under the patient and gentle guidance of his grandfather, the boy gradually comes to respect the ways of nature and to understand his own place in the world. Tranquil illustrations by Karen Reczuch echo Waboose's poetic text, reflecting both artists' love and respect for the wonder of nature. Full color. 32 pp. Ages 4-9. Pub: 3/98.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In overly lengthy prose, a Native American boy relates his encounters with wild creatures in three episodes: "Morning," "Noon" and "Night." Under the tutelage of his grandfather, the boy discovers mystical bonds with various animals Waboose's (Where Only the Elders Go-Moon Lake Loon Lake) wordy narrative often bumbles its mystical purpose (e.g., when an eagle swoops down toward the boy, "I feel talons combing through my hair with a gentleness I cannot explain"), and at times may even confuse readers (e.g., in two separate tales, the boy says morning, then night, "is [Grandfather's] favorite time, and so it is mine"). Reczuch's (The Dust Bowl) pencil and watercolor illustrationsdominated by rich, realistic portraiturehint at the comfort and mystery of the bonds between boy and grandfather, man and nature. However, the pictures have the effect of observing the two watch nature, and distance readers from the pair. For all its discussion of making connections between man and nature, this book ultimately misses making one with the reader. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Judy Chernak
In the timeless way of ancient cultures, a Native American grandfather teaches his young grandson to revere nature by taking him on a special day-through-night trip to mountain and woods. With few words and the patience of those who transmit their lessons by example, the Mishomis allows the boy, his Noshen, to experience in his muscles and heart the majesty of nature. When their hoped-for encounters with the eagle and the night animals of the forest are both realized, Noshen also learns he has the power to communicate his kinship with these other inhabitants of his earth and earn their respect. The illustrations are detailed and compelling in their beauty and sense of closeness between the generations.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4A Native American boy and his grandfather spend a full day in the wilderness. From a morning encounter with a family of loons on the lake, to an evening face-off with some wolves, the child is reassured by his grandfather's presence and wisdom. Quiet in tone, the contemplative first-person narrative brings the Ojibway view of the world into focus. The idea that people are part of nature and must respect both land and animals is never directly stated but is clearly shown. The lengthy text is divided into three sections, denoted by time of day. Since this is a quiet story powered as much by internal as external action, it would be best read aloud in these shorter segments; otherwise, many children will not stick with it. The full- and double-page watercolors are attractive and somewhat photographic in nature. Similar in both message and approach to Allen Say's Lost Lake (Houghton, 1989), these stories could be paired for a look at both father-son and cross-generational relationships as they are played out in natural settings.Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Kirkus Reviews
This tale conveys to readers how a morning glide through still lake waters in a canoe, amid haze and reeds, can be more valuable than actually reaching any destination. An Ojibway boy and his Mishomis, or grandfather, rise early; after a canoe ride across the lake, they climb a rocky ledgeþthe grandfather's favorite place to be at noon. At night they walk through the dark forest. The animals they encounterþloon, eagle, timberwolvesþare not hunted, but observed and respected. Their presence makes the day significant and draws the boy and his elder together in a shared experience. Remarkably rendered in Reczuch's watercolors are details such as the liquid reflection on the lake, the grandfather's wool plaid jacket, and the loon's sleek feathered back. If readers feel a shiver down their spines while reading these pages, it will be because this tale is informed by an awe of nature, the chill of dark trees, and the spiritualism inherent in finding an eagle feather. (Picture book. 5-9)
Children’s Book News
From the first words of Morning on the Lake, it’s evident the author has an abundance of love and respect for the force of nature in all its magnificence. And, as we follow the young native protagonist and his grandfather, the call of the wild sounds ever more clear. Early one morning, the boy and his grandfather set off in their canoe and are rewarded with a rare glimpse of a family of loons. Later that day, they climb to the top of a hill and have an encounter with a bald eagle. And in the still night, the boy comes face to face with a pack of wolves. In this boy’s traditional world, nature is given very human qualities which can set the heart a-thumping as well as soothe the spirit. Karen Reczuch’s tranquil illustrations lovingly portray the relationship between man and his surroundings.
Aboriginal Voices
Filled with lessons of love and respect for Mother Earth, this book is packed with many Ojibway cultural references for young readers. Noshen and his grandfather, Mishomis, set off in a birchbark canoe, climb a mountain and stand off a pack of wolves – all in one day. Noshen learns that he is brother to the wolves and need not be afraid of any animal he meets in the woods. Karen Reczuch’s illustrations of many culturally-relevant objects like beadwork designs and Mishomis’ moccasins make this book something to be treasured.
From the Publisher
Filled with lessons of love and respect for Mother Earth, this book is packed with many Ojibway cultural references for young readers. Noshen and his grandfather, Mishomis, set off in a birchbark canoe, climb a mountain and stand off a pack of wolves – all in one day. Noshen learns that he is brother to the wolves and need not be afraid of any animal he meets in the woods. Karen Reczuch’s illustrations of many culturally-relevant objects like beadwork designs and Mishomis’ moccasins make this book something to be treasured.

A Native American boy and his grandfather spend a full day in the wilderness. From a morning encounter with a family of loons on the lake, to an evening face-off with some wolves, the child is reassured by his grandfather’s presence and wisdom. Quiet in tone, the contemplative first-person narrative brings the Ojibway view of the world into focus. The idea that people are part of nature and must respect both land and animals is never directly stated but is clearly shown. The full- and double-page watercolors are attractive and somewhat photographic in nature.

From the first words of Morning on the Lake, it’s evident the author has an abundance of love and respect for the force of nature in all its magnificence. And, as we follow the young native protagonist and his grandfather, the call of the wild sounds ever more clear. Early one morning, the boy and his grandfather set off in their canoe and are rewarded with a rare glimpse of a family of loons. Later that day, they climb to the top of a hill and have an encounter with a bald eagle. And in the still night, the boy comes face to face with a pack of wolves. In this boy’s traditional world, nature is given very human qualities which can set the heart a-thumping as well as soothe the spirit. Karen Reczuch’s tranquil illustrations lovingly portray the relationship between man and his surroundings.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613839624
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.96 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Bourdeau Wabooseis a First Nations writer. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Karen Reczuch has illustrated many award winning children's books, including Morning on the Lake and The Dust Bowl, winner of the 1997 Toronto Chapter I.O.D.E. Award. She lives in Acton, Ontario with her two children.

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