Maple Moon

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Series: Picture Books
Publisher: Toronto: Stoddart Kids Publishing, 1997.
Illustrator:  Scott Cameron
Summary: A young native boy discovers that sap comes from Maple trees and leads his tribe to produce maple syrup. (paperback and jacketed)

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1998 Honor Title, International Reading Association’s Storytelling World Awards,

1998 Our Choice selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Word Guild 2006 Award


. . . Visually appealing and well-told, this story is one of transformation: sap is transformed into delicious syrup, and Limping Leg into Wise Little Raven. Connie Brummel Crook’s sensitive telling and ear for language make the story echo in the reader’s heart long afterward. . . .

Scott Cameron’s oil-on-canvas illustrations, done in browns, yellows, and blue-greys, are rich and warm. Conveying historical detail, they build on the strong narrative to create an excellent balance between text and illustrations. It’s a lovely book, from start to finish.
— Anne Louise Mahoney, Quill & Quire starred review.

History and legend connect powerfully in Maple Moon, as do author and illustrator. Crook’s realistic, emotionally charged text is enhanced not only by the effective interplay of light and dark, shadow and texture, and the natural and super-natural in Scott Cameron’s illustrations but also by his use of the earthly tones of Native robes, animals, and the early spring landscape. This book deserves a place on every library shelf. Highly recommended. — Sheree Haughian, Children’s Literature

A handsome look at traditional life and a good tale of personal ingenuity and discovery.
— Margaret Bush, School Library Journal


Also reviewed in:

—The Horn Book (March/April)

—Granite District Media Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

—Morning Star Telegram, Ft. Worth, Texas

—Clark County School District, Buffalo, New York

—Wisconsin State Journal

—The Loyalist Gazette, Toronto, Canada


A long time ago, in the heart of the great forest, in a clearing filled with wigwams, there lived a young Missisauga boy. The clearing was on the south side of a gently sloping hill. At the bottom of the hill was a small lake, called Rice Lake, because of the wild rice that grew there.

. . .

The year the boy turned eight, the snows came early. The children of the clearing loved it. They ran between the wigwams kicking up drifts and throwing snowballs. The boy watched and wished that he could join their circle. But he was different.

When he was a baby, he had injured his left leg and it hadn’t healed properly. Now he always limped and never joined in the games. Sometimes one mean boy, Fast as Lightning, would taunt, “Limping Leg, came and play!”

. . .

Only some of the children called the boy Limping Leg. Everyone else used the name his mother had given him – Rides the Wind. She called him that because of the sled his father had made him. With Nimoosh pulling, the boy could move faster than any of the other children. Nimoosh was a big, strong, shaggy dog that was half timber wolf. Rides the Wind loved him and he loved the winter.

But this winter was different. The drifts were so high that Nimoosh could not get through them. The ice had frozen thick on Rice Lake and fishing was impossible. Again and again, the hunters came home with no meat to feed their people. The women gave out only small amounts of wild rice and dried berries, for their supply was almost gone. The months passed until it was time for spring, but spring did not come.

Everyone in the clearing was very hungry.

. . .

By the time, Rides the Wind arrived home, a pale moon shone high in the night sky and the hunters had returned. The women were crowded around the day’s kill. It was only a thin, small buck. Everyone looked sad. The singing had stopped, though the fire still burned brightly.

“Where have you been?” his mother demanded when she saw the boy standing in the shadows. She grabbed him and some of his precious water slopped over the side of the basket.

“Look!” he said. “It’s sweet water from Ninautik.”

“You silly boy,” she scolded. “Give me that water.” She threw it on top of the fresh meat she had just cut up and dropped into a clay cooking pot. “At least it will save me from having to go to the lake for ice water. I spent so much time today looking for you, I’m behind in my work.”

“But it really is sweet water,” the boy said with a downcast face.