The fundamentals of dog sledding emerge in this story of two youngsters, one a boy and the other a dog, eager to join the team and run.
Jake is a young Inuk living in Nunavut, in the Canadian north, with his dog, Kamik; such can be surmised by his calling his grandparents ataatasiaq and anaanatsiaq and the fact that there is an awful lot of snow on the ground, just right for mushing, a strong Inuit tradition. One morning Jake brings Kamik—the word for “sealskin boot” in Inuit; Baker’s story is captivating enough to make non-Inuit readers want to look these things up—to his master-musher uncle’s house to show him off. Jake’s uncle is a serious musher and is pleased with Kamik. “Smart, hard-working dogs are the best dogs. Being a good musher takes a lot of work.” He tells Jake about the things he will need to know: how to rebraid ropes and harnesses, build sleds and a doghouse, and, not least, “Dogs rely on us to keep them healthy.” Jake is a bit overwhelmed when he realizes his ignorance. But his uncle claps him on the back. “You can learn alongside your dogs.” It is one of those life lessons that need but a few words: we all must learn, we will all make mistakes, perseverance is key—neatly delivered, making learning fun rather than drudgery. Leng’s artwork sets the story in its element, with its spare landscape and close community.
A keen introduction to a way of being in the world. (Picture book. 5-7)