This week Caramel reviews a book about a Haida prince and his adventure into the spiritual world of the whale people: Storm Boy, written and illustrated by Paul Owen Lewis. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell us a bit about what this book is about.
Caramel: I think this is a very good book about a Haida prince, who was lost in the sea in a storm. Then he went to the spirit world of the killer whale people.
S: Wait, who are the killer whale people?
C: You don’t know what killer whales are? They are also called orcas!
S: Well, let me see. Wikipedia says that the killer whale is “a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. Killer whales have a diverse diet, although individual populations often specialize in particular types of prey. Some feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as seals and other species of dolphin.” Wow! I did not know that killer whales “are highly social; some populations are composed of matrilineal family groups (pods) which are the most stable of any animal species. Their sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviours, which are often specific to a particular group and passed across generations, have been described as manifestations of animal culture.” That is cool!
C: That is like a huge family…
S: Yes and they pass on what they know to their offspring, just like humans, and bunnies! But what do killer whales have to do with this Haida prince?
C: He is saved by them. And they also help him get home in the end.
S: But Caramel, when we look at the pictures of the book, we see large human-shaped people, not whales!
C: Because that is when they are in human form.
S: What do you mean?
C: The end of the book tells us that.
S: Yes, you are right. The author put some notes at the end of the book to explain some of what’s going on. So it is there we learn that this is a traditional hero’s journey story, told in the tradition of Northwestern American peoples. The following quote by Joseph Campbell is used to help us understand the story deeper:
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.Joseph Campbell
C: And according to the way the Haida people see the world, all animals are like people, and they can take human form.
S: That is such an interesting way to see the world, isn’t it Caramel? That all animals are like us, they too have their homes, families, and cultures? And we can communicate with them if we want or at least we can try…
S: So if you could meet one such people, what type of people would you like to meet? Whale people? Wolf people? Badger people?
C: I don’t know. I’m just a bunny, and I guess I would want to meet other bunny people.
S: That would be neat, wouldn’t it? So what else do you want to say about this book?
C: I want to rate this book like Marshmallow does in all her reviews. I rate it 100%! This is a neat book for all little bunnies! And big bunnies too. The pictures are very colorful!
S: And they have such detail in them! You are right, older folks could also get much out of this… Anyways Caramel, it is about time for us to wrap this up. So-
C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies reviews!