“At the very beginning of time,” spoken words had the power to become true—as protagonists Tiri the Arctic fox and Ukaliq the Arctic hare soon realize in this traditional Inuit tale.
In this “time of magic words” all the Earth is in a state of darkness. It is great for the nocturnal animals like Tiri, who can easily see and hunt in the dark. He makes sure the darkness prevails by calling its name: “Taaq, taaq, taaq!” Ukaliq overhears Tiri and thinks it unfair to have only darkness. How can she find food? She calls out the word for day, “Ubluq, ubluq, ubluq!” and so light comes into the world in a spectacular double-page spread in which the verso is dominated by the huge arc of the yellow, rising sun. The two disagree and argue and finally decide on a compromise that will “give each other enough time to find a meal or two before the other changes the light in the sky.” Rumbolt grew up listening to traditional Inuit stories and customs shared by her family and other elders. Her cadenced retelling of this traditional origin story will help young readers learn how to compromise and problem solve. Lishchenko’s deliberate palette of black and white, plus touches of a few other colors, plays strikingly with negative and positive space and adds a subtle dimension to this story of opponents learning how to coexist.
Spare and beautiful. (Picture book/religion. 3-7)