SaskBooks book picks - 'A Walk in Wascana'

‘A Walk in Wascana!’
Written by Stephanie Vance, Ilustrated by Wendi Nordell
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$14.95 ISBN 978-1-988783-40-6

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Saskatchewan resident Stephanie Vance clearly loves Regina, the city she grew up in, as she's made it the subject of her first book. A Walk In Wascana is an homage to Saskatchewan's capital and specifically picturesque Wascana Park, with its natural beauty diverse manmade features. Vance has teamed with Alberta artist Wendi Nordell to create a delightful softcover homage to the park. The rhyming text and bold, full-colour illustrations on each page are exactly what young ears and eyes enjoy at "storytime," though the book could also be a pleasant memento for anyone who has lived in or visited Regina.

The story sees a young blond boy exploring the expansive park. A playful bunny seemingly beckons the child to follow it through the paths and "grand green trees." Readers will recognize the variety of birds and waterfowl on the lake, including sparrows, pelicans and mallards, and adults can make a game of having children point out all the Saskatchewan images.

There are also references to one of the provinces greatest features: its "living skies," and the artist is to be commended for her depictions of clouds that billow above the backdrop of mixed trees. A partial map of Wascana Centre is included, as is a note on how Regina, "once prime bison-hunting territory for Indigenous peoples," got its Cree name, oskana kâ-asastêki, or, as its more commonly known, Pile O'Bones.

Parents, grandparents, older sibling or guardians could share this book with youngsters and follow it up with a walk outdoors, encouraging the children to really experience where they are, and to discover how it feels to be there.

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