A young newcomer to the frozen north sees the northern lights for the first time and hears the Inuit legend associated with them.
Awed and frightened by the sweeping trails of green and pink in the sky, Leslie starts to whistle—and is frantically shushed by her friend Oolipika, who explains that, according to her grandmother, the lights are Anirniit, spirits, playing a game with a walrus skull, and the sound will draw them dangerously close. Ghostly figures chase a nebulous “ball” across starlit skies bright with shimmering curtains of light in Zhao’s atmospheric illustrations, and Mallory caps her matter-of-fact descriptions of two girls playing in the snow and then standing, awestruck, to view the show with a poetic flight: “Sometimes green, sometimes red, / the night sky dances….” A following final note on what science has to say about the aurora’s causes brings the encounter to an informative if prosaic close.
A touch bland, but a glimpse at least of the phenomenon’s visual wonders and a widely told bit of related folklore. (Picture book. 6-8)