CARIBOU GIRL by Claire Rudolf Murphy


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In a long-ago time, the caribou are scarce, and the people are starving; a swift-running Inuit girl named Caribou Girl dreams of the caribou, and so her grandfather gives her an amulet and sends her to find them. She travels into the sky to Moon Man, who turns her into a caribou so that she will learn the ways of the herd. By learning their cycles, she comes to understand how her people must behave in the future (following the herd, for example) in order to survive. When she meets her deceased great-grandmother, who is also the spirit of the caribou, Caribou Girl knows that it is time to return home, where she is greeted joyfully, and begins to act as the shaman she is. Although the story has been meticulously researched, the telling is less than lyrical. Those unfamiliar with Inuit tales may not understand all the mystical leaps; the handsome illustrations also require careful study, with their layers of superimposed dreams and mythical symbols occasionally overwhelming the events of the story. Difficult, but compelling.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Roberts Rinehart