________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 14 . . . . March 18, 2005

cover Orphans in the Sky. (Northern Lights Books for Children).

Jeanne Bushey. Illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka.
Calgary, AB: Red Deer Press, 2004.
32 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 0-88995-291-4.

Subject Headings:
Inuit children-Juvenile fiction.
Brothers and sisters-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grades 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Alison Mews.

**** /4


For many nights, the children played in the sky. They were so happy they forgot they had even lived on Earth.

Then, one evening, Brother looked down on the place where their old camp had been. "Sister," he called, "our people have returned for us."

"Let's show them our new game," Little Sister exclaimed. Streaks of fire shot from her flint, and the tundra below echoed with the rumble of Brother's sealskin.

Fearfully, the people cried, "It's the orphans we came to find. See how powerful they are now."

internal artBased on a traditional Inuit legend, this pourquoi tale describes the origin of Thunder and Lightning. A brother and sister were inadvertently left behind when the Inuit moved camp to seek better hunting grounds. While awaiting their rescue, the siblings returned to their former camp for shelter but found only a flint and an old sealskin. Using these as best they could, they considered their survival options if they lived with different arctic animals. When Little Sister thought of living with the stars instead, they happily embraced the notion. As they rose into the night sky, Little Sister dispelled the dark with the flint and Brother's laughter made the sealskin crackle loudly. The orphans thus created Brother Thunder and Sister Lightning and became part of a new family of sun, moon, northern lights and stars. Their newfound sense of belonging was so complete, they chose to remain with this family when their people finally returned for them.

     Full page illustrations composed of swirly swatches of colour, evoking arctic winds and northern lights, accompanies the text. Additional black ink sketches of inuksuit, kayaks, caribou, etc. provide further visual information and help to interpret the story. Krykorka, who lived in the North for many years and has illustrated books by Michael Kusugak and others, has again celebrated its desolate beauty. Bushey, who also spent much of her life in the Arctic, has created a timeless tale of homecoming with an authentic northern flavour. Altogether this is wonderful addition to a small but growing literature of picture books about the North.

Highly Recommended.

Alison Mews is the librarian of the Curriculum Materials Centre at the Memorial University of Newfoundland in John's, NL.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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