“Inukpak was huge, even for a giant.”
He can cover the breadth of the Arctic in just a few days and wades into the ocean to fish for whales. One day Inukpak happens upon a lone hunter on the tundra, and mistaking the man for a lost child, he scoops the tiny human up and continues on his walk. Christopher effectively plays the extreme size differential for laughs, as when Inukpak catches a bowhead whale but calls it a small fish. Exhibiting a great deal of equanimity, the hunter decides he might as well just accept his genial new “father,” and the two live happily ever after. Nelson’s paintings also milk the size disparity for humor; Inukpak is usually painted as if from a low vantage, foreshortening emphasizing the giant’s humongous feet. The enormous bone necklace he wears bears silent witness to the “very large” polar bears he’s accustomed to, explaining how he mistakes a regular-sized one for a lemming. A foreword introduces Christopher’s interest in the tales of the Inuit in general and this oft-repeated one in particular; an afterword provides further information about Inukpak’s kin, the great giants, as well as the lesser giants and the colossal polar bears they have hunted almost to extinction.
Kids will readily warm to this gentle giant from the frozen North. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)