An unhappy, orphaned boy in Canada’s far north finds a new way of life with the help of a group of tiny, magical dwarves who adopt him.
Christopher, a researcher and publisher of Inuit legends and history, and Neal, a Canadian journalist, team up for a relatively lengthy, original story incorporating traditional Inuit characters and setting. Little Ava is alone and unwanted, an outcast orphan in his Arctic village. One day, he stumbles on a tiny, dwarflike man who takes Ava home to his group of family and friends (including sled dogs the size of squirrels). Ava learns that in this new world, time, size and shape can shift, according to one’s own perceptions and inner strength. He proves himself a worthy hunter, accepts the love and respect of his new family, and finds that he is now the same size as the tiny people, the Inugarulligaarjuit. Dreamy watercolor illustrations in muted tones show Ava’s growth from a cowering child to a brave and strong boy who can fight a lemming or a bear.
The story is long for the picture-book format, but children who enjoy fairy and folk tales will find the story of Ava an unusual and compelling one. (author’s note, glossary, pronunciation guide) (Picture book. 6-9)