CM June 7, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 34

image Storyteller:
    Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak

Written and Directed by Joanne Culley.
Toronto: School Services of Canada, 1995. VHS, 27 minutes, $69.95.

Subject Headings:
Authors, Canadian-20th century-Biography-Juvenile films.
Storytellers-Northwest Territories-20th century-Biography-Juvenile films.
Authors, Inuit-Canada-20th century-Biography-Juvenile films.

All grades / All ages.
Review by Gail Lennon.


ImageMICHAEL ARVAARLUK KUSUGAK is an Inuit author and storyteller who first become well known for A Promise is a Promise, co-written with Robert Munsch. In this videotape, he presents three stories -- "Hide and Seek," "Baseball Bats for Christmas," and "Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails." Kusugak includes personal anecdotes of living in the Canadian arctic and incorporates traditional spirit creatures into his stories of modern life.

    Kusugak is a natural storyteller who has an easy rapport with audiences. His stories and style are equally appropriate for primary children and senior students. His manner and stories will expand understanding of the Inuit beyond stereotypes of igloos, nose-rubbing, and whale blubber.

Image    "Hide and Seek" tells of Allashu, a child who likes to observe insects and fish. "Baseball Bats for Christmas" is Kusugak's own memory of a time when a bush pilot, the only link to the outside world, arrived at Christmas with baseball bats. "Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails" tells the story of Kataujaq, a girl, and her relationship with her mother.

    The accompanying twelve-page teacher's guide provides a brief biography of the author. It also includes a book list, a vocabulary list, and suggested activities for each story.

Image    Whether Storyteller is used as an introduction to storytelling, a look at the work of Kusugak, or simply a collection of stories to be enjoyed, it will be a valuable teaching aid. Use of this video when teaching a units on multiculturalism, stereotyping, racism, or Inuit culture and life would do much to move these topics into the 90s. Storyteller might also be used effectively as part of a Young Authors theme, or a study of Canadian authors at any level.

    Storyteller would be an excellent purchase for a Board of Education's media library. Its wide utility makes it effective teaching support material.


Highly recommended.

Gail Lennon is a secondary resource teacher with the Bruce County Board of Education. In her thirty years of teaching in both rural and urban settings, she has taught every grade from JK to Adult Education in elementary, secondary and university academic locations. She has specialist qualifications in Library, ESL, Primary, Junior, Intermediate, Senior, and Special Education. Ms. Lennon is a keynote speaker, author, and workshop leader who has reviewed for CM for the past seven years.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364