January 26, 2014

Grandmother Ptarmigan

by Qaunaq Mikkigak and Joanne Schwartz
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Inhabit Media
24 pp.
Ages 0-4

While a grandmother ptarmigan seeks to get a little one to sleep, Grandmother Ptarmigan is actually a traditional Inuit origin tale that explains why ptarmigans cry, "Nauk, Nauk" and why baby ptarmigans fly so young.

Just as many human parents try a variety of strategies to help their young ones go to sleep, a little ptarmigan's grandma sings to him, tells him to close his eyes, and tucks him in, but he continues to demand a story.  Well, she tells him a story, obviously a little more feather-raising than she intended, though it does end with affectionate tickles. Unfortunately, the little ptarmigan is so frightened that his reaction is to fly away, much to the distress of his grandmother.

Qaunaq Mikkigak, an elder from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, shares a traditional Inuit origin tale in Grandmother Ptarmigan, written in collaboration with children's author Joanne Schwartz.   I applaud the successful efforts of these authors in divulging an origin tale from the Aboriginal Peoples of our own continent.  In addition to reaffirming the Inuit culture for young people, Grandmother Ptarmigan reminds us that origin tales do not all stem from Africa or lands with which youngCanLit readers are unfamiliar.  Along with Qin Leng's deceptively simple but effective illustrations, Qaunaq Mikkigak and Joanne Schwartz bring the origin tale to roost appropriately amidst the rich stories told by the Aboriginal Peoples of North America, here courtesy of Inhabit Media. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds lovely; I must have a look. (I've so enjoyed their collections of frightening tales for older kids as well.)