HIDE AND SNEAK
Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak. Illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka.
Volume 20 Number 4
Allushua, the main character in Hide and Sneak, is not much good at playing hide and seek. Instead of hiding, she is distracted by the wildlife abundant around her home - the butterflies, the fish, the turtles and the baby birds. One day an Ijiraq - a hide and seek creature - offers to help her hide. Allushua disregards her mother's warning, "If an Ijiraq hides you, no one will ever find you again," and sets off with the funny little creature. The story of her predicament and how she outsmarts the Ijiraq is lively and entertaining.
Hide and Sneak is an excellent book, and a good introduction for young children to the Canadian Arctic and to the Inuit. A one-page story at the beginning of the book introduces the readers to the Ijiraq, and explains the purpose of the inuksugaq - information the reader should know but would slow the story. Kusugak's descriptions of the landscape and the wildlife are vivid and beautifully woven into the text. The story is suspenseful without being threatening; the language is simple, easy to read, and smooth.
The illustrations created by Vladyana Krykorka are wonderful. They are large and clear, and complement the text. The bright colours challenge the common picture of the Arctic as barren, white land. The people, especially Allashua, are realistic - they are obviously Inuit without being stereotyped. The Ijiraq is silly and just a bit scary!
Hide and Sneak is an excellent picturebook, a story of adventure, nature, and independence in the Canadian Arctic.
I highly recommend it.
Anne Kelly is a part-time Masters of Education student at St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a substitute teacher with the Halifax and Dartmouth District School Boards.
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