Amorak

Tim Jessell, Author
Tim Jessell, Author Creative Company $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56846-092-5
Hardcover - 30 pages - 978-0-88682-662-8
Hardcover - 978-0-15-200922-9
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Jessell, a prize-winning magazine illustrator, achieves an exceptional harmony of narrative tone, art and design in this beautiful picture book. As the story begins, Grandfather is tucking the young narrator into bed when they hear a wolf's chilling howl. Grandfather reassures the boy that ``the caribou and the wolf are brothers.'' But the warm words don't negate the child's simple perception--``Brothers don't eat each other,'' he replies. So Grandfather tells him an Inuit story about how the ``Great Being in the Sky'' created a woman, a man and their sons to inhabit the empty, snow-covered land, then populated the earth with all manner of creatures, saving the caribou for last. But as the sons hunt the healthy caribou, the sick and weak proliferate. The woman prays for ``a tool to cut the sickness from the caribou,'' and the Great Being brings forth Amorak, the father of wolves, whose hunting will make the caribou herds strong again. The legend's explanation of the larger, unified relationship between two apparent enemies satisfies the narrator--and is also likely to engage youngsters disturbed by nature's violence. Jessell recreates several settings simultaneously, drawing the reader into the intimate bedtime exchange between grandfather and grandchild and sensitively evoking an arctic culture. His suggestively lit paintings, rich with nocturnal blues and golden firelight, sustain the intensity and wonder of his tale. All ages. (June)
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