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Wild Berries

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Tch, tch, sh, sh, tup, tup.

Spend the day picking wild blueberries with Clarence and his grandmother. Meet ant, spider, and fox in a beautiful woodland landscape, the ancestral home of author and illustrator Julie Flett. This book is written in both English and Cree, in particular the n-dialect, also known as Swampy Cree from the Cumberland House area. Wild Berries is also available in the n-dialect Cree, from the Cross Lake, Norway House area, published by Simply Read Books.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published April 15, 2013

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About the author

Julie Flett

29 books128 followers
Julie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist. She has received many awards including the 2017 Governor General's Award for Children's Literature for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson (High Water Press), the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and she is the three-time recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award for Owls See Clearly at Night; A Michif Alphabet, by Julie Flett, Dolphin SOS, by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki (Tradewind Books), and My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books).

Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was featured in The New York Times and included among Kirkus’s Best Children’s Books of 2013. Wild Berries was also chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014–2015.

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5 stars
163 (31%)
4 stars
203 (39%)
3 stars
131 (25%)
2 stars
12 (2%)
1 star
5 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 116 reviews
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,204 reviews104 followers
November 2, 2019
Now what makes Julie Flett's Wild Berries so perfect for and to me? Is it that she, that the author tells such a wonderful and yes also really deceptively simple little story of a young Cree boy and his grandmother going out for a joyful romp in the woods to pick, to harvest wild blueberries (as well as all of the fauna they encounter and see while gathering their berries, from ants to foxes and that Clarence actually leaves some of the blueberries he has collected as gift to the animals of the woods)? Is it Julie Flett's artwork that always enchants and fills me with magical aesthetic delight, and especially her use of the colour red? Yes, to a point, to a large extent even, it is indeed the wonderful combination of Julie Flett's text and her accompanying pictures that have made Wild Berries a sweet (and with a bit of a pun definitely intended here, as I also very much do appreciate the inclusion of a recipe for wild blueberry jam) and in every way smile-inducing personal reading experience. But what takes Wild Berries from being simply a delightful story with equally thus accompanying pictures and renders it into what I personally would call linguistic perfection is that throughout the narrative of Wild Berries Julie Flett also presents fourteen Cree nouns, nouns that are presented in a red and easy to see font and given alongside of their English translations, not to mention that at the back of the book, Julie Flett features a detailed and yes above all also very easy to follow and understand pronunciation guide, which indeed has totally and utterly delighted linguistically interested I and has most definitely made Wild Berries in all ways a five star book and most highly recommended.
Profile Image for Agnė.
756 reviews58 followers
July 25, 2017
Wild Berries is a simple and lovely picturebook by a Cree-Métis author/illustrator, which celebrates nature, the tradition of picking wild blueberries, and the n-dialect Cree language, also known as Swampy Cree from the Cumberland House area. The words in the n-dialect Cree are sprinkled and translated throughout the English text, and the back matter includes a pronunciation guide, glossary, and a recipe for the wild blueberry jam.

Julie Flett's paper collage and paint illustrations are intricate, but I am not a fan of the way the human ears are depicted:

Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,335 reviews
February 20, 2021
A gentle, beautiful story. Please see Manybook's excellent review for details on what makes it so good.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
9,804 reviews415 followers
April 30, 2017
I do love Flett's work. I read this for the illustrations... but there's so much more to love. The text is graceful & poetic. There's a great attention to detail, for example the different kinds of blueberries grandma and Clarence favor. There's a glossary & pronunciation guide, an author's note on language, and a recipe for blueberry jam.

A treasure for any classroom or family.
Profile Image for Beth.
1,015 reviews9 followers
July 29, 2014
Beautiful and highly evocative cut-paper art illustrates a simple yet appealing story about a contemporary Cree boy and his grandmother going berry picking and observing the plants and creatures around them. Good themes of harmony with nature, with words from the "Swampy Cree" dialect worked into the text in a lovely typeface.

Great for lapsitters and small-group storytimes, and a wonderful portrayal of modern Cree people carrying on some traditions while living in the modern world of sneakers and t-shirts.
Definitely put this on library book displays.
Profile Image for Ann.
Author 6 books224 followers
April 2, 2016
This minimalist picture book is simple and lovely. It is also one of the only bilingual titles I can think of that features an American Indian language (Cree).
Profile Image for Amy Rae.
912 reviews40 followers
August 8, 2016
Gorgeous illustrations and simple story accompanied by a lot of great language information in the back. I thought this was a really lovely little book.
Profile Image for The Book Girl.
780 reviews37 followers
July 10, 2018

Wild Berries is a sweet and charming little story about a boy and his grandmother who have gone out to collect blueberries. In this story we see them to enjoy the nature, each others company, and of course the yummy fruit. We learn that little Clarence likes the large sour ones, and the grandma likes the soft sweet ones.

Julie Flett's illustrations are breathtaking, they have a modern look to them. They are simple but not boring. There was plenty for little one to look at. My nanny kid loved the use of muted colors and the natural palette. She loved the book and wanted to read it over and over again.

The typography in this book is very well done. It was different than any other picture book I have read. There were certain words that were placed on their own line in a bolder font. It is also repeated in the Cree dialect in the same font just in the color red. I loved the beginning and ending parts that talked about the dialect used in this book. back provides helpful information about proper pronunciation. The back of the book also includes a yummy looking blueberry jam recipe. It really made this picture book diverse and extremely interesting.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,575 reviews50 followers
May 3, 2018
I have been really loving Julie Flett's picture books, and Wild Berries is no exception (if anything, this is the rule).

Wild Berries tells the story of Clarence and his grandmother as they go out picking wild berries (specifically blueberries) together. Each page of the story uses a word in Cree (alongside the English word), and the back provides helpful information about pronunciation. The back also has a tasty looking blueberry jam recipe that I am going to have to save to try out. Flett's illustrations are fantastic, as usual.

I highly recommend this for all ages looking for a good picture book, and all ages looking for more books containing words in Cree!
Profile Image for Kathleen .
81 reviews2 followers
September 18, 2013
Lovely images here. A young boy and his grandmother go berry-picking in the woods. I don't know much about First Nations or Aboriginal languages, but I appreciate learning about other cultures through language. The author, who is of Cree-Métis descent, spent a lot of time researching the right Cree dialect for this story. Well done.
Profile Image for Danielle.
Author 2 books231 followers
September 5, 2016
A boy and his grandmother pick blueberries. This book is filled with small, endearing details as well as bilingual vocabulary from the cree language (Algonquian). My favorite part is that the pair say thank you when they leave the clearing.

Beautiful art and both a pronunciation guide and a recipe for wild blueberry jam at the back.
Profile Image for Alyssa Gudenburr.
1,847 reviews11 followers
August 17, 2018
A beautiful book about spending time with grandma in nature and all the things they see. There are several Cree words throughout the text that introduces plants and animals to children. The story is written by a First Nation author and includes pronunciation guide for the Cree words and a wild berry recipe at the end of the book.
Profile Image for Kris.
3,055 reviews69 followers
January 17, 2019
Simple and quiet picture book with lovely detail. It points out the little things that a grandmother and her grandson notice while out on a walk to pick blueberries. Great detail in few words. Seamlessly includes Cree words.
37 reviews
September 14, 2020
Classic Julie Flett: a peaceful and grounded story told in bold, textured illustrations. This book is a favourite in my household, with my two year old dubbing it the "grandma book" and requesting it regularly. I intend to purchase a copy. I would like to have an audio resource to confirm that I am pronouncing the Cree words correctly so if anyone reading this has found one, please post it and pass it along!
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews108 followers
November 19, 2013
Clarence has gone berry picking with his grandmother since he was a baby. Now he is big enough to carry his own bucket as they walk and sing. The two of them pick the berries, Grandma looking for the sweet ones and Clarence for the bigger, sour ones that pop. They pick the berries and eat the berries. Then Clarence looks around the woods and sees different insects, spiders, and a fox. It is time to go home, they say thank you and walk back home together.

This book weaves Cree into the story, separating the words out and providing pronunciation information at the end of the book. Even these few Cree words evoke a different feeling, a new rhythm that is powerful. Flett tells a very simple story here about going out to pick berries in the forest. Yet it is a timeless story, one the embraces wildlife, the environment, and giving thanks for the bounty of nature.

Flett’s art is a beautiful mix of cut paper collage, texture and painting. She manages to show the depth of the woods without darkness. She uses bright colors that pop on Grandma’s red skirt and the red sun in the sky. The grass is drawn in individual blades and the tree bark varies from paper art to marker lines. Put together, it is a rich and beautiful book.

Simple, powerful and honest, this picture book celebrates Cree and nature together. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.
24 reviews
October 31, 2016
In this multicultural picture book, the main character, Clarence, went blueberry-picking with his grandma. This a tradition of Native American people. Because he was such a small child, he couldn't handle the trek and she had to carry him on her back. Now that he is bigger he is able to carry his own bucket for the berries. As he picks them, he can't help but eat them and they make his lips turn purple. He looks around at his surroundings as he goes and watches creatures all around him like an ant, a spider, and a fox.

This multicultural picture book tells the story in lyrical narrative form. It also includes words and phrases in Cree (a Native American language) right along side the English on each page. This classifies it under the multicultural category because of the language and the tradition that the story is based around.
Profile Image for Melanie H..
3,832 reviews34 followers
January 4, 2014
I will always purchase books about American Indians actually written and illustrated BY American Indians. This is a brand new one that I am very excited about.

Clarence grew up riding on his grandmothers back while she picked blueberries in the fields. Now he is grown enough to have his own bucket to fill. His grandmother watches for bears as they walk into the blueberry fields. As they pick the berries they encounter deer (or elk), foxes and enjoy observing the spiders and birds.

I love that this picture book shows how important it is to Native People to take time to observe the world around and thank the field for offering up the blueberries. And not that they left berries for the wildlife to eat. A great note on only taking what you need and being thankful.
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,385 reviews25 followers
August 25, 2016
This is a simple story about a Cree grandmother and her grandson going to the woods to pick wild blueberries. Cree words are included in the text. The book is graphically strong and quite beautiful with stylized illustrations that spotlight both the close relationship between the characters and their appreciation of the natural world.

Back matter includes a pronunciation guide, a glossary, a recipe for blueberry jam and acknowledgements. The author illustrator is Cree-Metis and has received the Governor General's Award for a previous book Owls See Clearly at Night

While this story is straight forward, the lovely illustrations, positive depiction of Native Americans and inclusion of a recipe elevate it.
Profile Image for Tiff.
746 reviews
October 12, 2014
Wild Berries is a very sweet and delightful book about picking berries. Clarence goes berry-picking with his/her Grandma. The picture with the blue color on Clarence's lips after eating some blueberries is very impressionable. The theme of book is really the simple act of picking berries and enjoying a good time with family. The book is playful with introducing the Cree words in a red italics font. The story puts a nice play on words and sounds, like "tch, tch. It tickles." Very nice visual and audio book. Highly recommend for those who want to learn the Cree dialect as well as just a nice simple story in general. Good for all ages!

Bilingual, also in Cree (n-dialect, Swampy Cree) Indian
Profile Image for Rachel.
1,158 reviews25 followers
December 6, 2013
A simple book featuring the Cree "n" dialect language.

As Clarence grows older, he continues to enjoy the company of his grandma, encountering many aspects of nature within the woods. It is a peaceful existence where they harvest the berries that grow there. While the written words have no plot, they are meant to exude this atmosphere, as well as teach a few words from the language.

The pictures are another thing entirely. They have a cut-and-paste paper feel made in mostly earth tones. It is this that gives the book its beauty.

A pronunciation guide is included in the back, as well as a recipe for wild-berry jam.
Profile Image for Robin.
1,040 reviews53 followers
May 7, 2014
A little boy (beginning as a baby on his grandma's back) picks blueberries with his grandma. Several animals of the forest make an appearance (spiders, fox, deer, birds).

The book has words in Cree (the n-dialect; there are several dialects of Cree, an Algonquin language) from the Cumberland House area, with a pronunciation guide in the back.

Illustrations by Julie Flett are very striking -- would like to know more about how they are done.
Translation by Earl N. Cook. Wild berries/pikaci-minisa
Simply Read Books. 2013 (Flett is Cree-Metis and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
Profile Image for Erin.
99 reviews
November 26, 2013
Beautiful illustrations and an endearing story of a grandmother and grandson picking berries together. The book is told in English and includes words from the Cree language. I was totally unfamiliar with Cree language and this book taught me that it is considered an aboriginal language with many dialects from Canada. Even though I am sure I am pronouncing the words wrong in my head, the sounds they made seemed to connect the story more to nature.

"When Clarence was little, his grandma carried him on her back through the woods to the clearing to pick wild berries, pikaci-minisa"
Profile Image for Holly Thompson.
238 reviews3 followers
September 17, 2013
This book is SO beautiful. It is about a boy and his grandmother picking blueberries in the native land in northern Canada. It is written in English, but has words in the Cree language mixed throughout. The story is simple, but the illustrations are beautiful. I think I would like to read this to my daughter so I can look at the pictures over and over again. I bet I will find something new in them each time I read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 116 reviews

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