Author Rachel A. Qitsualik’s interest in bringing Inuit tradition/storytelling to Inuit (and other) youth in a manner that they might actually absorb…comic books… is truly admirable. And while the art and story are basically quite interesting, I think this falls short of its goal.
The art is fantastic. Jae Korim’s work deserves to be acknolwedged. Any youngster who’s grown up with comics or graphic novels will appreciate this art work. There’s definitely a sense of comic-book style, but there’s also a strong sense of aboriginal, or Inuit, style to it.
The downside is that there is not enough of it. I know that a children’s picture book is commonly 32 pages, but the number of pages devoted to artwork vary, and this book needs more.
The story itself is interesting. It’s not a traditional story I’m familiar with (I’m not widely familiar with Inuit legend), and I was intrigued. Here, too, I wanted more. I wanted to know more about the Qallupaluit creatures. Why did they steal a boy and keep him safe? I thought the boys’ reaction to his grandmother being mean was a fantastic leap in thought-process. I went back to re-read the story to figure out where that had come from. And while I see it…it doesn’t ring true to me.
But for a book like this, my ultimate question is: would I read this to my kids (or grandkids)? The answer is Absolutely, yes! I love exposing my children to a wide variety of legends and mythology and this would be fantastic. Would I buy it to have on my bookshelf? Again, yes. I would buy it. I would read it. But I would always wish it were a little more.
Looking for a good picture book? This is one.
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Under the Ice
author: Rachel A. Qitsualik
artist: Jae Korim
publisher: Inhabit Media
paperback, 32 pages