“The spectacularly illustrated story of friendship fondly presents an unconventional take on death and growing old.”
As a mother sweetly carries her child through the tall, springtime grass, they spot a recurring guest—the bison. The little girl returns to meet him everyday, slowly getting closer in both distance and emotion as the two become a special sort of friends. She even brings him food she makes, thoughtfully remarking that “he didn’t always like my food, but he always tasted it, which made me happy.” The bison has to leave each year, returning each winter to the girl—listening to her stories, keeping her warm in the snow, and growing old together—until one day, the bison doesn’t return. The woman misses him with a heavy heart, but feels the bison in “every spring flower, every sound in the forest, and every snowflake.” This soothing, yet somewhat peculiar story hosts a unique take on death and growing old while beautifully presenting a fond friendship and a tribute to mothers. Even with a seasonal friendship, when the bison and girl only meet for a while each year, their friendship never falters and picks up right where they left it. The friendly tone of the text pairs charmingly with the spectacular charcoal-and-ink illustrations with magical additions of blue watercolor. The fantastic illustrations and the distinct, unconventional, and multi-dimensional story create a unique, lovely book that grows fonder over time, mimicking the friendship within.
A little girl and a bison get to know each other. One spring morning though, the bison has to go join his kin. He promises the little girl to come and see her again each winter. And so, every winter, they meet up, having a chat by the fire, telling each other all about their adventures, or just enjoying the quiet moments. Friendship grows and with it, tenderness. Years go by, the bison and the girl don’t notice the other getting older, but then one season the bison doesn’t appear.
The girl eventually lost the bison, but she could feel him all around her. How could her example help you remember a person you’ve lost and help you be comforted?
The girl in the book would make the bison food, tell him stories, and enjoyed the snow together. What do you like to do with your friends?
Born into an artistic family, Gaya Wisniewski studied illustration at the Saint-Luc Institute in Brussels. While teaching drawing at Le Wolf, a center for children’s literature in Belgium, she fell in love with storytelling. <i>My Bison</i> is her first book in English. She now lives in France.
“Searching for him in vain the next winter under a blue, starlit sky, she finally realizes: ‘He was always with me.’ Wisniewski’s words and images capture the deep satisfaction of an interspecies bond. . . . Perfect for animal lovers and old souls who harbor a touch of melancholy.