cover image The Reindeer People

The Reindeer People

Ted Lewin. MacMillan Publishing Company, $14.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-02-757390-9

Dressed in gaily trimmed tunic and reindeer-skin boots with curving toes, Ola joins other Laplanders to follow the reindeer herds in their spring migration. Taking the reader with Ola, Lewin (Amazon Boy; When the Rivers Go Home) introduces the Sami people who live north of the Arctic Circle, a people whose centuries-old customs are surviving the modern world. Six vignettes portray a blue, frozen land teeming with activity: from the reindeer-drawn sledge ride (``a leaping, grunting, bucking, eye-bulging, tongue-lolling stampede'') to the corral (where reindeer ``wheel around like a school of fish'') to the race (the Sami's ``own special kind of madness'') and finally, to the wedding (where the crowding friends ``carry video cameras and wear reindeer clothes'' and the couple ``walks arm in arm out of the fairy tale into a waiting taxi and the twentieth century''). The author's highly descriptive prose is as luxurious as a reindeer coat, and his finely detailed, snapshot-style watercolors will engage readers of any age. Ages 6-9. (Oct.)