A beautifully illustrated and original book that gives youngsters fascinating glimpses into Arctic life.



This illustrated alphabet book by debut author Ruth Wellborn and debut illustrator Morgan Wellborn introduces readers to flora, fauna, people, and sights of the North American Arctic.

Abecedarian children’s books are thick on the ground, but this one stands out for its unusual theme and unexpected vocabulary. For each letter (E and F plus X and Y are combined), the book provides a complete alliterative sentence that refers to the nature and culture of the four North American Arctic regions: Alaska, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. For example, the text for the letter C reads, “A CARIBOU CALF CAPERS THROUGH CLUSTERS OF CLOUDBERRIES.” Each sentence is declarative, providing a consistent structure for the book. Full-color, nicely detailed illustrations show each element of the sentence in realistic, not cartoonish detail, making this book an excellent learning tool as well as beautiful. Vocabulary can be challenging; a “Glossary of Interesting Words” helps define unfamiliar terms, though in ways more suitable to older readers. In the C sentence, for example, cloudberries are described as “an herb native to alpine, Arctic tundra and boreal forests. They produce amber coloured edible fruit similar to a raspberry.” “Tundra” and “boreal,” however, aren’t defined. Other sentences are easier to construe, such as the entry for W: “A WALRUS’S WHISKERS WHITEN AS IT WAITS.” Of special interest are the entries relating to Arctic people and culture. For example, under U, “UNA’S ULU IS A VERY USEFUL UTENSIL,” the illustration shows an old woman slicing salmon with a curved blade, and the glossary explains that an “ulu (or woman’s knife) is a curved all-purpose knife used by the Inuit people. It has many uses and can be used to skin and clean animals, cut hair, prepare food, or trim blocks of snow and ice when building an igloo.” Helpful explanations like this take the book beyond the ABC category, making it appropriate for older readers doing some research. Also included are some statistics, a map, and two pages of “Interesting Facts About the North.”

A beautifully illustrated and original book that gives youngsters fascinating glimpses into Arctic life.

Pub Date: July 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5255-2592-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller


A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet