THE RAVEN’S GIFT by Kelly Dupre


A True Story from Greenland
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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A tale of endurance and mystery in the Arctic. A little boy grows up fascinated by the far north; this fascination results in an expedition to Greenland mounted by the grown narrator and an Australian friend. It is a grueling experience, as the two men kayak along the coast: “We felt tiny among the huge icebergs, big waves, and rocky cliffs. Maybe we had made a mistake by coming to Greenland. We kept paddling, but each day we grew more tired. We were ready to quit.” At the darkest moment, the narrator encounters a raven whose foot is tangled in musk ox fur, and whose gift of a rock prompts him to look outside his own misery to the beauty and power of the land and of himself. Newcomer Dupre spins a quiet tale of extreme hardship and perseverance, illustrated with linoleum block prints that stand out starkly against the white page, complementing the simple text beautifully. Occasional block-print sidebars deliver tidbits of Greenlandic information, on topics such as the adaptations Arctic mammals have made to their harsh environment and the migratory patterns of Greenland’s birds, making this a surprisingly informative book without interfering with the basic narrative line. While the full mystic import of the narrator’s epiphany will likely escape most young readers, the appealingly primitive illustrations and the fundamental lure of the unknown will draw children in to this most unusual and pleasing offering. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-01171-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2001