Boozhoo, Ajidamoo Cover | Image source: Barns and Noble
While greeting the sun and various forest friends, the always curious and intelligent Ajidamoo meets Steve, an otherworldly visitor, and takes a trip into space. Such is the setting for Michael Lyons’ wonderfully illustrated book for early Anishinaabeg language learners. I have wondered in recent years why there are no books that are readily available aimed at children either in kindergarten or pre-kindergarten. Apparently Lyons, unbeknownst to me, was listening.
Boozhoo, Ajidamoo is another contribution to early language learning. Its bold text, Anishinaabemowin, and illustration combination is both engaging and educational. It provides basic language acquisition of several animals such as Gijikkijigaaneshiinh, Memengwaa, Esiban, Aandeg, and Nenookaasi, as well as terms for the sun, earth, and moon. Other linguistic concepts include introducing yourself and saying “see you later” or Gigawaabamin. By not including the English translation in the book, Lyons forces the readers to learn vocabulary by associated images or actions, both of which enhance language acquisition and retention. He does provide the translations, but on the back cover, disassociated from their usage. Unfortunately, unlike other works by Lyons, a pronunciation guide is not provided.
Overall, I would recommend Boozhoo, Ajidamoo for both adults and children learning Anishinaabemowin. My family certainly enjoys the book.
Boozhoo, Ajidamoo by Michael Lyons; CreateSpace Publishing (2014); 34 pages, softcover; ISBN-13: 9781505222197