AhmekAuthor Patrick Watson Illustrated by Tracy Thomson ISBN 9781554554850 Binding Trade Paper Publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside Publication Date March 20, 2020 Size 121 x 188 mm
"Remember that scent, Ahmek!" his mother had said. "For that is the scent of human." She said it so gravely that he knew that is was one of the Greater Lessons, a greater lesson than stripping bark from twigs, a greater lesson than squeezing water from your fur, a lesson as great as holding your breath, as great as. . . diving.
This is the story of Ahmek, a young beaver, going about the business of living in his natural habitat. Through his eyes, we see a man, an artist painting the wilderness. Slowly, cautiously, Ahmek and the man establish a rapport, only to have it shattered when poachers destroy the beaver dam and threaten Ahmek's life.
In a desperate escape, Ahmek sets out alone on his life's great adventure. He meets a charming cast of characters, his life true love, and he does find happiness. But there is always that feeling that one day he should return. When he does, he becomes part of a significant mystery that to this day has never been solved.
In Canada we have a long tradition of realistic animal stories from such well-known writers as Sir Charles G.D. Roberts and Roderick Haig-Brown. Ahmek, the Ojibway word for beaver, follows in that tradition. Set in Algonquin Park in 1917, the story follows the fortunes of a young beaver as he is forced out of his family lodge by poachers, goes on his "wander year" to find his own territory, finds a mate, builds a dam and lodge, and starts a family. Woven into the natural cycle of the beaver's life are encounters with humans, good and bad. Painter Tom Thomson and several members of the Group of Seven show how environmentally friendly humans behave in the wilderness while some poachers show how others exploit it.
is best known for his work in television current affairs and documentary film, but he has remained involved in dramatic production and acting. In 1997 he directed and co-wrote The Conjuror, a theatrical magic production, featuring sleight-of-hand artist David Ben. Ahmek is his first book for young readers, but Patrick's adult titles include novels, biographies and works of social and political studies, including the recent companion to his documentary series The Struggle for Democracy. He has received honorary doctorates in Letters and in Laws, and a number of national and international television and documentary awards. In 1981 he was named an officer of The Order of Canada, and from 1989 to 1994 was Chairman of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Watson's ability to bring history alive is apparent in his films The Heritage Minutes. His keen sense of playfulness will delight children and the fortunate adults who are allowed to share Ahmek with them.
is a studio artist, graduate of The Ontario College of Art and member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour. Her artistic style differs dramatically from the jacket painting she has created for Ahmek. She knows the style well, however, for her great granduncle was none other than the famous Group of Seven painter Tom Thomson. This is her first contribution to book illustration and it has become a personal journey into the heart of her famous relative.