The Most Amazing Bird

Annick. Nov. 2020. 40p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781773214184.
PreS-Gr 1–This story opens with the sounds of feet crunching into the snow, pulling readers into the wintry setting and giving the story immediacy. Aggataa, a little girl, sees a “tulugarjuaq” (a raven) and thinks that it is ugly. She asks her grandmother, who explains that she fed that bird one winter and now it returns annually. Aggataa comes to an uneasy peace with the bird, and its “Crah!” in response. The raven leaves as the snows give way to spring and other seasonal birds arrive for the warmer months. Again, the seasons shift, and the sandhills and seagulls fly south, leaving the landscape empty. Aggataa thinks it will be a lonely winter but is happy when her “ugly” raven returns. From a rotation of seasons, to the interactions between Aggataa and her grandmother, both Inuit and dressed traditionally, this beautiful tale provides gentle hints as to Inuk life in a sparsely poetic landscape. Delicate watercolors capture the play of the birds and the passing of seasons and complement the hushed storytelling.
VERDICT Inuit storyteller Kusugak offers readers a window into the changing of seasons in a frozen landscape and how the wildlife and the humans change with it.

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