Inuit legends add new perspective
INUIT stories from northern Canada are few and far between, so Skraelings: Arctic Moon Magick: Book 1 by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (Inhabit Media, 89 pages, $11, paperback) is a welcome newcomer. Skraelings is based on ancient legends that told of the Tuniit, a race of stocky, shy peoples living in a remote area of Inuit land. When Kannujaq, a young hunter, sets out alone across the tundra, he is shocked to encounter a Tuniit community’s inhabitants fleeing from an invasion by huge, hairy men who have arrived by ship on their coast. Kannujag is faced with a decision: help the Tuniit defeat their enemies and ignore his own wish to avoid violence, or allow them to be wiped out by the invaders. The authors, who both have Inuit ancestry, suggest these legends originated through encounters between marauding seamen from Greenland and early Inuit tribes. Whatever its origin, this tale of ancient warfare in Canada’s north adds a new perspective to our history. Suitable for ages 10 and older. Lockdown by B.C. author Maggie Bolitho (Great Plains, 230 pages, $15, paperback) is a frighteningly realistic novel about the consequences of a major earthquake on the west coast of North America. Set in the near future, Rowan and her brother, Michael, are staying with their father, Tony, an obsessive survivalist, in his home in North Vancouver. Although the earthquake-proof house is stocked with enough supplies to last several months, and is surrounded by an electric fence, the teenagers are faced with crucial decisions when Tony is taken to hospital and friends ask for entry into their compound. What would you do if your neighbours demanded water? If gangs of young men threatened to break down your fence and steal your food? These and other tough questions are raised in this suspenseful young-adult novel. Bolito lived in an Australian “redzone” (highest bushfire risk) before moving to B.C., and enjoys living on the edge. She has been a firefighter, a cyclist and a scuba diver at the Vancouver Aquarium. The perils and pleasures of raising a daughter are humorously illustrated by Brandon writer Nicole Rondeau in four picture books featuring irrepressible Carla Carlita (Mascot Books, 32 pages, $18 each, hardcover). Carla insists on choosing her own outfits for school ( Carla Carlita Explodes); on growing her fingernails to ridiculous lengths ( Carla Carlita Freaky Fingernails); on leaving her hair unwashed ( Carla Carlita Kooky Creatures); and adopting an octopus from the beach ( Carla Carlita Okidoki Octopus). In each case Carla faces major problems, resolved in an amusing fashion. Rondeau credits her inspiration as coming from her four children. American artist Ron Florendo’s illustrations help make these early-reader books fun and colourful. Nature-lovers who have watched the falcons nest on a downtown Winnipeg highrise will enjoy Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by eastern Ontario author and illustrator Celia Godkin (Pajama Press, 32 pages, $20, hardcover). Godkin, who has made a career of scientific illustration, provides beautiful pictures of the falcons and their young in this extra-large picture book. After the raptors were threatened by the effects of DDT, she describes how environmental activists are helping save the falcons by raising some of the eggs in captivity before releasing the birds. Helen Norrie enjoys reading books for young people. Her column appears on the
third Saturday of the month.