An Inuit folktale of an orphan boy who is trained by polar bears to become a man and a capable hunter.
Long ago, when people didn’t have rifles, they hunted walrus using harpoons. Each day, an orphan boy accompanies the hunters, but at the end of each hunt, they abandon him. He walks the long way back to camp, following the tracks of the dog teams. One day, he hears someone behind him; it’s a huge polar bear who transforms himself into a man and tells the boy to return with him to the island of his bear camp. There the bear teaches him the skills to survive, including seal hunting. A large bear that repeatedly bullies him and takes his catch proves to be his greatest challenge, but his new skills have also taught him courage. The foreword from the publisher credits Canadian North storytelling traditions, the storyteller and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Nunavut government, with whom they worked to make the book true to Inuit culture. The blue-toned illustrations realistically portray the landscape, while the text reads with the voice of a storyteller.
An evocative story that provides a window into an often-ignored culture. (Picture book/folklore. 7-9)