________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 37. . . .May 24, 2013


Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story.

Donald Uluadluak. Illustrated by Qin Leng.
Iqaluit, NU: Inhabit Media, 2012.
32 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-1-927095-11-9.

Subject Heading:
Sled dogs-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 3-8.

Review by Amber Allen.

**1/2 /4



“Kamik. Come.” Jake’s commands were of no use. Kamik ran around the sitting room in circles, until he finally came to rest in a warm spot next to Jake’s grandfather’s feet.

“He’s certainly full of energy,” Jake’s grandfather said with a laugh.

“He never listens, no matter how loud I yell. I called him Kamik because his fur looks like he’s wearing a boot. I should have called him Bad Dog.”

Jake’s grandfather looked down on the restless puppy that was gently chewing on the base of his armchair.

“When I was raising dogs, we used to name our puppies after older dogs who had passed away. I named my puppies after strong dogs my grandfather used in his dog teams. Some of the names had been passed down since before I was born.”


Jake’s new puppy, Kamik, is proving to be a really difficult dog to train, and Jake is feeling stressed by the inability to communicate with his dog. He has big dreams of the fast and strong sled dog he’ll be able to brag about in the future, but for right now it’s a struggle. When he brings Kamik to his grandfather’s house for a visit, his grandfather gives Jake a different way of looking at his new relationship. Jake’s grandfather used to train dogs for sled teams and hunting, and he has some words of wisdom to share. Jake and the reader are introduced to the many important roles dogs played in the traditional Inuit daily life. Based on the memories of Uluadluak, a much respected Inuit elder, Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story offers an interesting look into the roles played by man’s best friend.

internal art     Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story is a uniquely created story book, one that blurs the line between fact and fiction and celebrates collaboration between orator, illustrator, and publisher. The plot is atypical as well, more a collection of memories and moments with no climax or denouement. The illustrations are beautiful full-page drawings with bright colours and the illusion of movement. Leng succeeded in visualizing the stories and turning them into cartoon-like illustrations which preserve the weight of the adventures. Readers don’t have to be dog lovers or of Inuit heritage to appreciate this book. It is a lovely story of the bond between man and canine and a reminder of the value in treating others, human or animal, with respect and love.

     Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story is the first in what promises to be a series of inspiring stories based on the memories of the traditional Inuit nomadic lifestyle. The goal is to remind Inuit children of their past and give them stories and insights to pass forward for years to come. While the focus seems to be on Inuit youth, these lessons and anecdotes are equally important for children of all cultures as they expand horizons and connect generations.


Amber Allen is a librarian in Toronto, ON, with a passion for children’s literature.

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

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