A bilingual sampler—cold of setting but warm of spirit.

WAY BACK THEN

An Inuit father lovingly regales his sleepy kuluit with bedtime tales of tiny people, giant polar bears, flying igluit, children born from the land rather than human mothers, and other wonders “way back then.”

Inspired by Arnaktauyok’s stippled scenes—of cozy ice shelters lit from within, figures clad in fringed and colorfully patterned hide dress, and magical arctic animals—Christopher presents a series of short folkloric episodes in Inuktitut script with English translations running below. The tales all open with the titular phrase, and they range from where caribou came from and the origins of night and day (in a quarrel between a fox and a raven) to how the loving land grew extra babies so that there would be more people and also gave an orphaned giant the sky for a home. The storyteller focuses more on wonder than drama: yes, the nanurluk were fearsome, but isn’t it marvelous that the giant polar bears were so big that they could be mistaken for icebergs? Imagine a time when sleds weren’t needed because an iglu not only provided shelter, but could fly from place to place! Several stories, such as how seals and small whales were created from the fingers of a bird spirit’s reluctant wife, are available elsewhere in fuller versions, but truncated as they are, these snippets together create a storyscape that, like the art they accompany, reflects harmonious connections with both the mythic past and the land itself.

A bilingual sampler—cold of setting but warm of spirit. (glossary/pronunciation guide, introduction) (Picture book/folk tales. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-7722-7021-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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