Siuluk: The Last Tuniq by N. Sammurtok
Sammurtok, Nadia. Siuluk: The Last Tuniq. Illustrated by Rob Nix. Inhabit Media, 2018.
This picture book, published in both English and Inuktitut syllabic script, tells the story of the last of the Tuniit, or the giants of the Eastern Arctic. The story is connected to a large rock, near Chesterfied Inlet in Nunavut, which is called Siuluk’s Rock. Nadia Sammurtok who is from Rankin Inlet and heard the story from her father, recounts that people were unkind to Siuluk and teased him because he was different. Through a show of strength by lifting the very large rock, Siuluk convinced the Inuit people that he really was the strongest man and gained their respect.
Both the language and the artwork in the book are simple. The clothing pictured is unadorned. Vegetation is suggested, but not detailed. Rob Nix has taken some liberties with the appearance of the individuals. Artwork left by the Tuniit (also known as the Dorset Culture), typically show rounded faces, similar to modern Inuit. Siuluk’s face is depicted as long and angular, with a prominent and high-bridged, convex nose, more common in some European people.
Overall this is a good retelling of the traditional story and conveys the message of tolerance of difference. Libraries with children’s collections, and particularly those that collect polar children’s literature will want to include these volumes.
Recommendation: 3 stars out of 4
Reviewer: Sandy Campbell
Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has written hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines. Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.
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