Joe and Cody are young Cree brothers who follow the caribou all year long, tucked into their dog sled with Mama and Papa. To entice the wandering herds, Joe plays his accordion and Cody dances, whirling like a young caribou.
They are so busy playing and dancing, they don't hear the rumble of the caribou. Bursting from the forest, ten thousand animals fill the meadow. Joe is engulfed; he can barely see Cody a few yards away. Their parents seem to have disappeared.
And yet what should be a moment of terror turns into something mystical and magical, as the boys open their arms and their hearts to embrace the caribou spirit.
Written in English with Cree translations
"This beautiful book is about two Cree brothers who attract thousands of caribou with their song and dance. Readers are drawn to the unique illustrations and appreciate the opportunity to learn more about First Nations Peoples. Text is presented in both English and Cree, which adds an element of authenticity and sophistication that families appreciates."
— The Toy Testing Council
"Tomson Highway's mastery creates an exciting, action-packed plot. Elements of suspense simultaneously entertain beauty, magic, and whimsy. Highway artfully crafts his scenes with the vivid river imagery capturing the full drama of the caribou's presence - the sound of their hooves beating on the earth like the pounding of drums. Caribou Song is an experience for the senses.
"John Rombough's illustrations complement Highway's text. A textured brush strokes vibrant colors across the sky, breathing life into the vast expanse of the wilderness. Intricate acrylic silhouettes frame the page and juxtapose the jewel-toned images that create the landscape and characters. The pages mirror the vibrant youthful energy and excitement of the characters and story.
"Caribou Song is a beautiful marriage of story and illustration."
— CM Magazine
"Caribou Song is a story of family, tradition, spirit, and livelihood. Music weaves the elements together, making them soar just as Highway's words and Rombough's art beautifully and evocatively express a way of life that has slipped (or is slipping) away. Rombough's illustrations in Caribou Song are strongly influenced by the Woodland (or Anishinaabe) School, with its emphasis on dark outlines, vivid colours, and visionary imagery. Founding member Norval Morrisseau's iconic style lives on in Rombough's work, but where they diverge is in the almost effervescent quality of Rombough's paintings. Bubbling with circular imagery and spots of amethyst, sapphire and topaz, framed in black and laid over flat washes of colour, each scene is like a pane of stained glass; a mix of storytelling and spirituality that is simply magnificent."
"Rombough's illustrations are infused with great energy, which is especially intriguing since the broad black lines contain only static shapes of colour layered on the variously tinted pages. There is magic here that is highly reminiscent of stain glass artistry and, like the stained glass pieces, engage the viewer into active participation in the storytelling experience. The story, too, contains magic.
Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars"
— The Deakin Review of Children's Literature
Tomson Highway is one of Canada's most exciting and distinctive playwrights. His plays explore the contemporary Indian in a dominant white society, and the results are both exciting and challenging. Tomson Highway was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1994. Originally from Manitoba, he now resides northern Ontario when he is not travelling abroad.