________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 9. . . .November 4, 2016


Hurry Up, Ilua!

Nola Helen Hicks.
Iqaluit, NU: Inhabit Media, 2015.
29 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-1-77227-003-7.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Nikita Griffioen.

**** /4



“Oh no,” cried Ilua. “I’'ve taken too long and the snow has started! We have to get back, Ivavaa.”


Hurry Up, Ilua! is the first book written and illustrated by teacher and author Nola Helen Hicks. The tale is a charming story of Ilua, a young siksik (a ground squirrel commonly found in cold climates), Ilua, and her sister, Ivavaa. Though the duo encounter a big problem, the story ends happily and with a subtle moral.

     Hurry Up, Ilua! tells the story of a young siksik who will soon be hibernating—what her kind call the “Long Sleep” (p. 4). Ilua's mother admonishes her daughter, who is heading out into the cold one last time, to be fast, for the snow is coming. Ilua puts her sister in her hood full of cotton and heads out for a last “fresh drink... before the snow falls” (p. 8). Unfortunately for them, Ilua loses track of time, and the snow begins to fall all around them. Ilua seeks help from a raven who has no luck finding their den and warns them to “Be careful!” (p. 16). She then finds help from a snow rabbit, and then a terrifying wolf. The wolf agrees to help because he knows that “an entire community of siksiks would be a good meal for his pack” (p. 23). With some smart thinking, Ilua is able to outwit the wolf and make it to her den.

      Hicks' illustrations are the perfect mix of soft and colourful to give the siksiks an engaging feel and enhance the story. Though she is an animal, Ilua is rendered as expressive and dynamic,. Hicks included beautiful details, like the bright snowflakes (p. 16) which make it hard to look away.

      Hicks' Hurry Up, Ilua! is a joy for all ages. The dramatic story will keep little ones wondering and on their toes, and the subtle moral at the ending will please any adult. Both the prose and illustrations work together to create an enchanting tale that's worthy of being on any bookshelf.

Highly Recommended.

Nikita Griffioen is completing her high school English teacher certification, and she hopes to write and illustrate books of her own.

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

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