Inuit leg­ends add new per­spec­tive

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - BOOKS - By He­len Nor­rie

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.

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