canadian wonder tales
October 3, 2016
If you follow me on Instagram (and you SHOULD because even when I can't make it here with a proper blog post, I'm pretty regular about caring & sharing on Instagram!), you might have seen me share a few pages from a most treasured book, 'Canadian Wonder Tales' by Cyrus MacMillan. My pal Michelle from Avery and Augustine popped me a note, asking to see a glimpse of the cover, because I had only posted a picture from inside the book. And I was like well.....my copy is about 30 years old and the cover is looooooooong gone who knows where, and the front is quite plain. How plain? Well look up above. That there is a PLAIN BROWN BOOK.
So what makes me say that this plain looking book is seriously one my most treasured and favorite books of all time? Because it is. If the house were on fire, it would be this book that I'd be reaching for.
I want you to know that I read, and re-read this book so constantly in the 4th grade that many of my pages are crumpled and smeared with chocolate - always my favorite book reading accompaniment. This book came with me on trips. My father read to me from this book. I read it and read it and read it some more.
I have to chat about the art for a moment, which was created by Elizabeth Cleaver. I feel so strongly that it's the art which is so crucial in imbuing these stories with the mystical feel that I keep talking about - her black and white, shadowy renderings truly give you a sense of foggy, unknown places that are on the other side of the rainbow.
I can't stress ENOUGH how special, unique and memorable these stories are - trickster tales, fairy tales, scary tales, funny tales, sad tales. Stories like 'How Summer Came to Canada', 'The Sad Tale of Woodpecker and Bluejay', 'The Bad Indian's Ashes', 'Star-Boy and the Sun Dance', 'The Tobacco Fairy from the Blue Hills', 'The Boy Who was Saved by Thoughts', and 'The Passing of Glooskap', just to name a very few.
Amazon has some copies but I have no idea what they are like, so I've also linked to Abe Books, which appears to have copies that have the illustrations I've described - not sure if the books are soft or hard cover - wait, they appear to be hardback yay! But seriously - in whatever form you can get your hands on it - GET YOUR HANDS ON IT.
A magical treasure. On my short list of most loved books.