Age group: 4-8
The story is somewhat slight, but the illustrations create a whole world around it. Vladyana Krykorka is best known for her glowing watercolours in Michael Kusugak’s tales. Here, her talents for portraying winter are given a new setting. Her skies are full of stars, lights, wind, clouds, sunrises, and dreams. A city backdrop of grand buildings, cathedrals, and statues is all half-glimpsed through a scrim of trees or blowing snow. Again, we’re in the old country folktale world with its headscarves, barrels, and stray cats, but while in Revell’s Olkinik the characters trudge, those in Krykorka’s Prague float and fly.
Once upon a time. Remember when? The publishing of folktales and folklore-based stories has fallen off in Canada in recent years, possibly because we’ve lost our confidence about the value of these stories and because questions of appropriation are so complicated. This picture book reminds us that not only are these stories satisfying small-scale narratives in themselves, but they fulfill the valuable role of suggesting to us, in the pleasantest way possible, that we should straighten up and fly right.