On the Trapline by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett and Carpenter’s Helper by Sybil Rosen and Camille Garoche

Published by Tundra Books

On the Trapline: Robertson, David A., Flett, Julie: 9780735266681:  Amazon.com: Books
In 'On The Trapline,' A Little Boy Visits His Grandfather's Childhood Home  : NPR

Published by Schwartz & Wade

Carpenter's Helper: Rosen, Sybil, Garoche, Camille: 9780593123201:  Amazon.com: Books
Carpenter's Helper: Rosen, Sybil, Garoche, Camille: 9780593123201:  Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Two books for Father’s Day that celebrate a bond between a father and daughter and a grandfather and grandson.  In Carpenter’s Helper, Renata is enjoying helping her father build a new bathtub, imagining herself building bubble castles in the deep new bathtub.  One night, though, a pair of wrens come in through the window hole and build a nest in the bathroom.  Dad says they need to stop work until the babies are hatched and ready to leave the nest.  Renata enjoys watching them grow, and has to do some problem-solving when they fall into the bathtub and can’t get out again.  

Moshom (Grandpa) hasn’t been to the trapline in the northern wilderness since he was a boy, but now he and his grandson are going back for a visit.  Their first stop is the Cree community where Moshom and his family lived after they left the trapline.  From there, they take a boat ride to the trapline.  Moshom reminisces as they go, recalling how he worked and played with his family, and how he attended an English-only school where he and his friends had to sneak into the bush to speak Cree (“I learned in both places.  I just learned different things.”).  Each page ends with a Cree word and its meaning.  As they fly home, the grandson is able to close his eyes and imagine the trapline just the way it used to be.  Includes notes from the author (who made a similar journey with his father) and the illustrator, as well as a glossary of Swampy Cree words.  Carpenter’s Helper is 40 pages; On the Trapline is 48 pages; both ages 4-8, although older kids would also enjoy On the Trapline.

Pros:  Both books show warm, loving relationships between a father/grandfather and child.  Carpenter’s Helper celebrates STEM and using problem-solving skills to figure out a real-world problem.  On the Trapline gives readers a look at an indigenous lifestyle as well as an introduction to Cree culture and language.

Cons:  Both stories require a good attention span from the intended audience: they are both on the long side and somewhat low key.

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