________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 2. . . .September 15, 2017


Putuguq & Kublu.

Danny Christopher. Illustrated by Astrid Arijanto.
Iqaluit, NU: Inhabit Media, 2017.
32 pp., pbk., $5.85.
ISBN 978-1-77227-143-0.

Subject Headings:
Brothers and sister-Comic books, strips, etc.
Brothers and sister-Juvenile literature.
Inuit-Comic books, strips, etc.
Inuit-Juvenile literature.
Comics (Graphic works).

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Christine McCrea.

** /4



“Old inuksuit, like this one, are like windows into the past.”

“What can you really use an inuksuk for? It’s just a pile of rocks.”

“Inuksuit were very useful as markers for travel routes and as warnings. Tuniit even used inuksuit to help them hunt... You would be surprised how helpful a pile of rocks can be.”


Putuguq and Kublu are siblings who live on the Arctic tundra. Like all siblings, they tease each other and try to prove their superiority.

     As the younger brother, Putuguq has trouble tricking his older sister or outrunning her. One day while Putuguq is chasing her, Kublu trips and almost falls into an inuksuk. Luckily their grandpa is close by and arrives to tell the children some of the history of the inuksuit and their importance to their ancestors.

     The children also learn something about the Tuniit people who seem almost mystical. According to some explanatory notes, the Tuniit “are also called the Dorset people... [They] inhabited the North American Arctic over 2,500 years ago, before the arrival of Inuit.” (p. 37)

     Putuguq & Kublu is a graphic novel that tries to accomplish being a funny and accessible story for young children while teaching something about northern Aboriginal culture. The story, itself, is only moderately enjoyable and somewhat didactic. Nevertheless, I applaud the creators for consciously creating First Nations literature for children. As Canadian culture and educational curricula are now focussing ever more closely on the stories of the First Peoples, Putuguq & Kublu could be a useful addition to school and public library collections.

     Illustrator Astrid Arijanto captures the spare Arctic landscape; the grassy, treeless ground is dotted with snow, and the characters wear mittens in the chill air. Houses are simple structures that stand on short stilts and create a colourful presence. I especially like the drawing of the village of Arviq Bay which precedes the story. Important buildings, such as the supermarket, school and Grandpa’s house, are labeled, and a cargo ship sits in the middle of the bay. The scale of this tiny community is captured in this lovely drawing. The characters, themselves, are somewhat Dora-esque, which may be a selling point for children.

     Putuguq & Kublu is recommended for those who want to provide new readers with more access to stories of the First Peoples.


Christine McCrea is a children’s librarian at Richmond Public Library in BC.

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

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