Pepere Played the Fiddle
written and illustrated by Linda Ducharme
Pemmican Publications, 2006
$10.95, 28 pp, ages 3 – 8
Pepere Played the Fiddle is an authentic Canadian text for young children. Written and illustrated by Linda Ducharme, this picture book features amateur yet expressive acrylic paintings and playful, poetic text. The story is a day in the life of a Métis child (circa 1940s), including hard work outdoors during the day and enjoying music and family at night. The poem and the pictures highlight the era, as in details like the oil lantern, wood stove, and ‘40s hairstyles, and aspects of the culture, such as intergenerational dancing and celebration, the traditional Métis Fiddler and pine resin for his fiddle’s bow. The last of the book’s 28 pages is titled Notes from the Author and includes explanations of cultural and era-specific elements of the book, such as details about the Michif language, the celebrations and music of the Métis, and the fashions and furnishings of the late 1940s.
Classroom Connections: Pepere Played the Fiddle lends itself to the comprehension strategies of Making Connections and Inferring. Children will naturally connect the work and leisure described in the book to that of their own experiences. Additionally, Pepere Played the Fiddle is a good beginner inferencing book, as the text and illustrations describe the actions of the family, such as their work, festivities, and the cooperation needed to accomplish both. Although the text does not directly reference commitment, love and responsibility, there is much to infer about the traditional Métis culture, as well as the meaning of family in any culture.
Review by Kim Siwak.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s May/June 2013 issue.