Told with Inuktitut words seamlessly folded in, a story of Arctic migration comes to life.
A group of Arctic animals gathers on a snowy bank to welcome the return of their friend nattiq, the ringed seal. “What did you see beyond our land?” nanuq, the polar bear, asks. Alongside vivid, impressionistic illustrations from Inuit artist Kyak, the tale unfolds past “gigantic floating mountains of ice,” under the northern lights, and along a tundra bursting into bloom with Arctic cotton. As nattiq travels south, the seal is amazed to behold “strange statues” lining the shore. As they come closer into view, nattiq marvels, “I realize the statues are alive.” The trees nattiq observes change with the seasons: In the fall, “they whisper and nod…in their colorful coats” of red, yellow, and brown; through the winter storms, “the statues bend and roar”; in spring, birds build nests as the trees “open their arms to the creatures of the sky.” Context clues allow readers to surmise the definitions of Inuktitut words that are woven into the narrative, rendered first in the syllabary of the Indigenous language and then in romanized italics; older children may be able to guess at each word’s meaning and check the glossary for accuracy. Younger readers and Inuktitut students of all ages will appreciate this lyrical, respectfully rendered story by non-Inuit author Landry.
A sweet animal adventure and a valuable addition to collections featuring Indigenous-language text. (Picture book. 5-8)