Inuit author Mike (Leah’s Mustache Party, 2016) channels her northern roots in this lighthearted parable of mismatched friendship.
Ukaliq is a high-energy Arctic hare who is always up for a new adventure. Kalla is a fastidious lemming who plans ahead and prefers staying cozy at home. When Ukaliq invites Kalla out for a day of fishing he is impatient to get started. In his haste Ukaliq neglects to bring snacks and extra fuel; his impetuousness even hampers his ability to nab any nibbling char. Fortunately, Kalla is patient and thoughtful and helps guide his friend to a successful fishing expedition. Sandland’s watercolor and ink illustrations highlight the different temperaments of the friends (a grumpy Kalla, suffering the effects of Ukaliq’s boisterousness, is priceless) and bring life to the icy northern landscape. In the end it is unclear if Ukaliq has learned anything from the experience, and in fact he seems oblivious to Kalla’s impact on the ultimate success of the outing. This lack of a clear moral seems true to life, if a bit unsatisfying. Apart from this, the text assumes readers have a base knowledge of regional or Inuit terms such as “jerry can” and “qamutiik,” which can inhibit the understanding of outside readers even with context clues in the illustrations.
Ultimately more about highlighting the culture of Nunavut than learning any life lessons, but it’s still a cute story suitable for sharing. (Picture book. 4-8)