BOOK: Jessie’s Island


Sheryl MacFarlane, Jessie’s Island (Custer, WA: Orca Book Publishers, 2015 [1992]), 32 pp. Illustrated by Sheena Lott.

Publisher’s description With a long list of activities and events to attend, cousin Thomas paints a picture of city life that makes Jessie’s world seem a little dull in comparison. When her mother suggests they invite Thomas to visit their island, Jessie wonders glumly what she could possibly write in her letter that would sound as exciting as zoos, planetariums or video arcades. But as Jessie looks out over her island home, she sees a world of endless variety, from killer whales in the strait and bald eagles soaring overhead to anemones in tide pools and tiny hermit crabs on the shore. She thinks of countless days spent exploring, fishing, swimming and canoeing. This reissue of Jessie’s Island, which was originally published over twenty years ago, will introduce a whole new generation of children to the joy of unstructured play and the pleasures to be found in the natural world.

This book is a delight. While the two kids in the story are obviously dressed in early 1990s attire, their ability to keep busy outside and explore their environment is timeless. While Jessie’s Island might be best appreciated by families in the Pacific Northwest, it’s message transcends regional distinctions. The island could very well be a creek, a forest, or some other natural landscape that calls to children. The author wrote another book I like – Waiting for the Whales – and the illustrator did the paintings for Canadian biologist and environmentalist David Suzuki‘s children’s book Salmon Forest (coauthored with Sarah Ellis).

This entry was posted in animals, books, nature play, pacific northwest, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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