Award-winning author/illustrator Celia Godkin once again turns to the subject of nature's remarkable ability to renew itself in this beautiful new book. A small island in the Pacific exists in perfect harmony, where all the plants, animals and people are interdependent. But the islanders live with the knowledge that their mountain god sometimes grumbles and threatens to awake. When that happens, the people offer up prayers and garlands of flowers to coax the giant back to sleep.
There comes a day, however, when the god will not be appeased. Smoke rises out of the mountain's crater, and ash and cinders begin to fall on the village. The chief tells his people it is time to leave. And days later, when the people have barely landed on another island, the volcano explodes. Soon there is nothing left of the old island but a smoking ruin devoid of all life.
But the story is not over. Slowly, gradually, the island begins to support the stirrings of life once more. And with the return to its lush, former glory comes the hope that the island will be home once more to a sleepy village and its gentle, smiling people.
Written with the grace and dignity of a native storyteller's voice, When the Giant Stirred demonstrates how even one of the world's most cataclymic events can be an integral part of nature's cycle. Celia Godkin takes her artwork into a new, exciting level with oils that are saturated with colour. Her depiction of a primitive people and their jewel-like paradise is reminiscent of the great post-impressionist Gauguin. This information storybook is a must-have for schools, libraries and homes everywhere.
Celia trained as a biologist and has worked as a scientific illustrator. An illustration job preparing signs for the Winnipeg zoo led to a collaboration on the book Endangered Species: Canada's Disappearing Wildlife. Encouraged by this success Celia illustrated an ecology story she had written years earlier and showed it to her publisher. The resulting book, Wolf Island, won the Children's Literature Roundtables Best Information Book Award and led to a succession of information storybooks.
"Once in a while, an informational picture book comes along that is special. This is one of those times! The text outlines the story of a volcanic island as it changes from a lush fertile paradise to a cataclysmic end with an eventual new beginning. Along the way, we learn about the island before the eruption; the flora, fauna and people. The text is clear, as well as poetic and describes the original beauty of the island in perfect evocative detail. The drama of one of nature's great disasters is retold in such a way, that the reader sees, smells and feels everything as it unfolds. But the real triumph of this book is the illustrations! The oil paintings of the island in all its stages of growth, destruction and rebirth are beautifully rendered in warm, jewel like tones. A must for all school and public libraries."
"This book works well on many levels: at the same time as young readers learn about natural regeneration and tropical life, they will absorb at a subconscious level the post-impressionist style of painting."
— City Parent
"A captivating nature genre book that is in tune with the fragile balance of all life. . . this perfect blend of dramatic artwork and text makes this book a must for schools, libraries and homes."
— The Blue Planet