Swift Fox All Along

Annick. Sept. 2020. 36p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781773214481.
K-Gr 3–A Mi’kmaq girl meets her Native family for the first time and finds a way to connect with her heritage to complete a traditional ritual. Swift Fox is nervous about meeting her father’s relatives. Her father assures her that being Mi’kmaq is inside her, but when faced with new family and requested to smudge (complete a ritual) she panics and runs. When another hesitant new cousin arrives, she finds the courage to lead him inside, and they both smudge for the first time. The text is straightforward and child-oriented, capturing Swift Fox’s voice and fears effectively. The illustrations use point of view to keep Swift Fox in the center of the story, and McKibbin captures her emotions perfectly. The slightly dark green and earth-toned color palette fit the story well. The lack of explanation of smudging or more details about being Mi’kmaq may lead those unfamiliar with the culture to seek additional resources.
VERDICT This is a straightforward tale of a girl finding her way into a culture that is her heritage, yet new to her. As such, it works effectively. This may suit libraries in need of more modern Native picture books with child appeal.

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