Book review: “Orca Chief” by Roy Henry Vickers & Robert Budd

FullSizeRender-035 out of 5 Stars

I am a big fan of picture books. I always have been. Even before I had a child I was buying them, especially while traveling through other countries. You get to learn their stories. There are wonderful lessons for children and adults in every picture book and these are the stories that become most beloved and cherished. How many of us had a favorite book that we made our parents read to us over and over again when we were little? Mine was “Big Joe’s Trailer Truck“. To this day I have no idea why I loved that book so much, but my parents read it to me multiple times a night and we no longer have the book because it completely fell apart and was beyond repair. In fact I just looked it up on Amazon to see if it was still around, and it looks like lots of other kids (and parents) love it as much as I did. Let me just add that to my cart! Annnndddd….done.

During our boat trip this summer through the Gulf Islands of Canada, we made a quick stop in Sidney, British Columbia. Sidney is a gorgeous little town outside of Victoria and I love it here for several reasons – they have the most wonderful shopping street with toy stores, bakeries, restaurants and they have one of my favorite book shops called Tanner’s Books. We popped into the kid’s side to pick up some new reading material since we were nearly finished with our books during our trip. When I went over to the adult side they had a display featuring local award winning authors and a book called “Orca Chief” by Roy Henry Vickers and  Robert “Lucky” Budd caught my eye. When I opened the front cover I immediately fell in love. I knew this was a book I wanted and I was going to keep forever. I knew it was one I was going to read to my son over and over. I knew I was going to read it over and over.

The story is one of the First Nation’s Legends. The story is of 4 fisherman who leave their village of Kitkatla, which is near Prince Rupert in the northwestern part of British Columbia on the coast. After paddling for such a long time the fisherman are tired and just drop their anchor without saying a prayer and asking for the anchor to find a safe place on the bottom of the ocean. They were lazy and didn’t care. The Ocra Chief learns of this and sends his most powerful Orca warriors to bring the fisherman and their boat to his house. The fisherman are ashamed and beg forgiveness for their mistake and the Orca Chief is very compassionate towards them and the story continues (you have to read to find out more!). But the lessons taught in this story are lessons we should all consider thinking more about in this day and age – compassion and forgiveness for one another, respect for our waters and the life in them, learning from others.


The story itself is wonderful and the bold, colorful images in this book are breathtaking. I couldn’t wait to turn each page and study what I was seeing. I feel like every time I read it, I find something new. In fact I just realized there is bonus content available at with additional illustrations, another legend and a narration of this story by Roy Henry Vickers.


I absolutely love this story and love learning the Legends of the people who came before us, especially as I pass through the land where the stories take place. I also really love this book because of the destruction that is happening with our oceans and the book helps me teach the next generation, my son, about respecting the earth, taking only what he needs and giving thanks. This book is wonderful for people of all ages to read. We highly recommend it.

Blow hole!I am not sure if this was a strange coincidence or if the Orca Chief knew I had read his story, but this boat trip was the first where I have seen pods of Orcas. In fact, I have never seen the whales on any of our trips and while I was captaining one day I started seeing spray. Then I noticed a few fins bobbing up and down. Next thing I know 5-8 orcas were swimming off our bow. We orcaplaneslowed down and steered away to give them space, but all of us stood in awe and wonder as we stood in the shadow of Pocahontas Mountain on Texada Island and I gave thanks to the Orca Chief for sending his warriors to remind us. Strangely enough, my husband was picked up in a seaplane painted like an orca as well, so the theme was very strong on this trip!

This book is the 3rd in a collection of Northwest Coast Legends. I am looking into getting his other 2 books in this collection soon – “Raven Brings the Light” and “Cloudwalker” are Canadian National Award-Winners. It looks like there is another new book called “Peace Dancer” that looks amazing too.  I can’t wait to read more!



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