Fascinating Story about native American canoes

When I saw the title, The Canoe Maker, and the illustration on the cover, I thought this book, published by Maine Authors Publishing, was a children’s book. But authors Jean Flahive and Donald Soctomah have written a book that both adults and children will find fascinating.

This may be a true story, because the main character, David Moses Bridges, was a native American artist who received national recognition for his work. I remember seeing some of his art at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend that you visit. It has very interesting displays, including canoes.

This story is about Bridges teaching his young son, Tobias, how to build a canoe in the traditional way. They start out hiking through the woods looking for the perfect birch tree and gathering spruce roots, Cedar, and spruce gum. Yes this is what they use to build canoes.

I loved the story of the partridge, who was the first Canoe maker. And when David and Tobias finish their canoe, a partridge flies over to check it out.

 Both Jean Flahive and Donald Soctomah have written other children’s books. One of my favorites is Jean’s The Old Mainer and the Sea. Donald is the Passamaquoddy tribal historic preservation officer was also authored several tribal history books. In 2015 he was presented with a lifetime cultural achievement award in Washington DC.

The book’s illustrations are especially great. Illustrator Mari Dieumegard also illustrated the Old Mainer and the Sea.

You probably won’t ever build a canoe this way, but you will always love this book.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.