Mashkiki Road: The Seven Grandfather Teachings

Minnesota Historical Society. Jul. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781681342382.
Gr 1-3–With some research, educators will be able to determine that this simple story about three children collecting herbs for their grandmother has a larger message of ancestral teachings of the Ojibwe people; it’s not clear from the book, which is unfortunate, since the need for these materials is so great. Also unfortunate is how flat the story falls, following a repetitive pattern with no real depth for heightened understanding of the animal deities the children encounter during their walk through the woods. The lessons taught are valuable but the story lacks substance. The illustrations also feel amateurish, cartoonish, and lackluster. The story includes a helpful glossary that gives translations of some of the vocabulary, but lacks other contextual back matter.
VERDICT With a painful lack of materials on this Indigenous group, consider this purchase carefully; the premise of the story yields great potential but the writing and plot are uninspiring.

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