On the Shoulder of a Giant: An Inuit Folktale
Illus. Jim Nelson
Toronto, Canada: Inhabit Media, 2015. 37 pp.
(Folktale; ages 5–7)
This retelling of a folktale of Inukpak, a First Nations giant, is a primer to Inuit giant tales. Inukpak, who was “huge, even for a giant,” takes only a few steps to travel from one side of the Arctic to the other. One day, he meets a human hunter who was so much smaller than he that he thinks the man is a child. The hunter is terrified, but Inukpak decided to care for the tiny human whom he sees as vulnerable in the Arctic terrain. Even though he does not want to go, what can the hunter say to the giant? Throughout their adventures, Inukpak keeps the hunter safe, even placing him in his boot (which is huge for the hunter) to keep him warm at night. Eventually, the two become friends and continue to travel and have adventures. “And that is why, in every region of the Arctic, you can find stories about a huge giant who adopted a human!”
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Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa, When We Go Walkabout
Illus. Alfred Lalara
Crows Nest, NSW, Australia:
Allen & Unwin Publisher, 2014. 32 pp.
(Picture book; ages 3+)
The very informative Endnotes of Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa, When We Go Walkabout make this book irresistible. They relate the story of the creators of the book—Rhoda Lalara and Alfred Lalara—while also telling the story of this Warnindilyakwa family. They describe how the art for the book was done and reveal the secrets that are in the illustrations. They provide us with an introduction to the Warnindilyakwa culture, an Aboriginal people on Groote Eylandt off the coast of Australia. And they explain “two-way learning.” The picture book itself is lovely. The animals (some familiar, some not) are vividly illustrated, and the text is simple and clear. While this is an excellent book to share with young children, it is also a fine example for older children who are learning English as a new language. The Endnotes include a barcode and web address to allow readers to hear Ms. Larlarla read the text. Sadly, these sites are no longer available, but YouTube provides an example (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49wvOy-isOI).
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Toronto, Canada: Groundwood
Books, 2015. np.
(Picture book; ages 4–8)
This Israeli author-illustrator’s debut picture book, Abukacha’s Shoes, retells a story told Tessler by her aunt, who heard it from her aunt. Abukacha has very large feet and so has “the biggest shoes in the whole wide world.” When his shoes develop holes, Abukacha has a new pair made. He attempts to discard his old shoes—putting them in the garbage, drowning them in the sea, and throwing them down a deep well. But someone always recognizes the shoes and returns them to him. Abukacha then attaches the old shoes to a hot air balloon and they fly away. When the shoes return to land in his garden, Abukacha “understood that this was where his shoes belonged and this was where they would stay.” Children will delight in this humorous tale with its repetitive story pattern and unique collage illustrations, crafted with mixed media. Tessler has incorporated photographs of her family members who perished in the Holocaust to represent the book’s characters. An author’s note explains the story’s origin and the use of the photographs.
Evelyn B. Freeman
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