Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: The Hill
Publish April 14, 2016
Known for Graffiti Knight and Drummer Girl, author Karen Bass’ latest YA book, The Hill, explores the Cree legend of Wihtiko in this climatic tale of survival. On his way to spend a boring summer vacation with his wealthy, but distant father in Yellowknife, Jared’s private jet crashes, stranding him in the wilds of Alberta. Discovered by a Cree rescuer, Kyle Badger, Jared refuses to heed Kyle’s advice to stay at the crash site and wait for others, opting instead to scale a local hill in search of a phone signal to call for help. With Kyle scrambling after him – spouting the warnings of danger from his kokum (Grandmother) – they venture up the hill together, unknowingly crossing over into the Spirit World. Tension builds as the boys discover they’re not exactly in Alberta anymore; instead, on a plane of existence where legends are real. Kyle and Jared are pursued by a Wihtiko, a fearsome creature with a frozen heart who relishes human flesh. But with Jared’s arrogance and Kyle’s defensiveness, the Wihtiko is at times the least of their problems. Bass highlights the conflicts of First Nations/White relations as the two continually butt heads – fighting the elements and each other to survive. Finding their common humanity despite their differences might be the hardest thing Kyle and Jared have ever done, as well as the most rewarding. Through a fantastical, yet modern and timely tale, Bass shows how the power of circumstance can bond even the most stubborn with life-changing results.
ISBN 13: 978-177-278-002-4