Magic Words: From the Ancient Oral Tradition of the Inuit by Edward Field
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a gorgeous book full of lovely Inuit artwork. I l adore how simple the story is. It's written in the way that the story would have been told when passed down orally. This is perfect for a children's book that is (generally) read out loud to children. The simplicity of Magic Words allows for very young children to have a way to learn about Inuit tradition. Not only are the pages brilliantly drawn and coloured, but each page design helps illustrate the limited words on that page. I could easily see a child loving this book so much that they learn the words on every page by heart.
The absolute best part of this book is the magical feeling it invokes. It stretches our imaginations to think of a time when people could be animals. I love the line "nobody could explain this: that's the way it was." As it is the last line in the story it leaves the door open for a conversation with the child about what animal they would want to become and why. I can absolutely imagine a child saying a bird and flapping their wings, or maybe a pig and oinking. The possibilities this story leaves in the mind of a child are endless. I also like that magic is mentioned here in a different context than usual. It's in a more spiritual and less tangible way. It's not a spell or a wand or even a prayer that allowed the Inuit to become animals; it just was. As though the Earth bid it to be and so it was. I like the ambiguity of this statement (and will confess it's in-line with some of my own personal spiritual beliefs).
I would love to see this book in the hands of all Canadian children so they could start having appreciation and understanding towards the Inuit of our country. As a child I knew there was a difference between the Native Americans and Inuit but I'm not sure I really understood what that was. These types of stories are critical to children realizing that everyone has their own culture and beliefs. It's always good for children to have exposure to other cultures than their own; but also who doesn't want to believe in magic?
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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