An intriguing, positive glimpse into Inuit traditional culture.

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KAMIK

AN INUIT PUPPY STORY

An Inuit boy begins to understand his puppy with the help of his grandfather, an experienced sled-dog owner.

Jake is a boisterous, impatient little boy who is unsuccessfully trying to train his first puppy, who is just as ebullient and unruly as his owner. Jake brings his dog, Kamik, to his grandfather’s house, where the older man’s gentle, introspective stories about his own years of dog training help Jake to see his puppy in a new way. Jake’s grandfather shows his grandson that quiet bonding with the dog will help more than yelling or pulling at the dog. The grandfather speaks in a gentle, understated tone that is echoed in the softly shaded pen-and-ink illustrations and gray text in a type that evokes hand-printing. The sensitively told story is adapted from the recollections of an Inuit elder from the Canadian province of Nunavut, where the book was first published. For the U.S. market, readers would have appreciated an author’s note, a map showing the location and a pronunciation guide for the Inuit names and terms included in the text. (For example, Grandfather’s name is Ataatasiaq.) 

An intriguing, positive glimpse into Inuit traditional culture. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-927095-11-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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