Children's Literature Newsletter Review - Andrei and the Snow-Walker
One of the "In the Same Boat" series focusing on the country's multicultural past, this novel focuses on a young Ukranian boy who, in 1900, comes with his family to Saskatchewan. Grandfather Dido is proud of his Cossack heritage and brings with him an ancient Scythian cup which possess powers that seem to induce visions in Andrei. Only at the end of the novel is its poewr overcome as the family settles into their lives as Canadians. The cup seems to symbolize a past that must, in a sense, be left behind if the family is to be able to live a different landscape and in harmony with vastly different neighbours, the Metis. In fact, the devloping relationships between the young immigrants and the Metis are important elements of the novel. Also important are the realistic descriptions of the ocean passage, the arrival in the undeveloped land, and the day-to-day events of the settling-in process. Upper elementary students can discuss the influence of the boy's heritage on him and how he must learn to blend elements of it with his new physical and social environment.