The Creator’s Game: A Story of Baaga’adowe/Lacrosse by Art Coulson (Author), Robert Desjarlait (Illustrator) Minnesota Historical Press Recommended for Ages 8-12
I’m not much of a sports enthusiast — especially when the sport involves, balance, coordination and/or balls hurdling at my face. So I was pleasantly surprised that this short children’s book got me excited about lacrosse. When Minnesota Historical Press sent us a few books to review, I chose The Creator’s Game: A Story of Baaga’adowe/ Lacrosse because it would tie in well with our Minnesota History Society Membership and my goal to learn about my adopted state’s history this year. This turned out to be ONE good reason to read this book, however, I found a few other reasons why I believe this will be a good book to share with my kids.
The first thing that really struck me about the The Creator’s Game is its similarities to The Black Snowman (which I reviewed earlier this year). Both stories center around a young man who is apparently lacking a strong male role model and is suffering from low self-esteem. In both cases, the child does not really appreciate or understand his own rich cultural background and both boys receive spiritual guidance in the form of night-time visits from a mystical father figure. Although my children and I don’t share either of these boys cultural heritage, we have our own traditions and beliefs (in our Catholic faith) that I believe are being lost in our generations. Books like this are a great way to point out the similarities and the importance of preserving our own family traditions– whatever they may be.
The next thing this book did well was make a sport — that I admittedly already had preconceived and judgmental opinions about — exciting to me. I’m actually thinking about setting up a lacrosse net area in my backyard for my boys. While I was reading the book, I was directed toward the true story of the Thompson family — two brothers (Lyle and Miles) and a cousin (Ty) — who have been playing lacrosse as a part of their heritage since they could hold a stick. They are now some of the top collegiate players in the country. Since the release of the video below, both Lyle and Miles jointly won the Tewaaraton Award — the first Native Americans to hold the title. I really recommend watching the 10-minute video below in conjunction with this book.
On the downside, I would have really liked it if this book had been fleshed out more. The relationships could have gone a little deeper, some scenes seemed abbreviated and I would have appreciated a little bit more background on the game of lacrosse and the Ojibwe people in general. It is, however, a short children’s chapter book — not an adult novel. I also would have liked it to expand on and emphasize the importance of hard work, practice and dedication. I thought that things wrapped up a little too easily. In real life, there are ups and downs; big changes don’t happen over the course of a few days. That is something I intend to point out when I read the book with my children.
Overall, I would give this book high marks. It certainly created more of an excitement in me than I expected.