Olemaun’s spirit and determination shine through this moving memoir.



After two years in Catholic residential school, 10-year-old Olemaun returns to Tuktoyaktuk on Canada's Arctic coast, a stranger to her friends and family, unaccustomed to the food and clothing and unable to speak or understand her native language.

Margaret Pokiak's story continues after the events of Fatty Legs (2010), which described her boarding-school experience. In this stand-alone sequel, she describes a year of reintegration into her Inuvialuit world. At first, her mother doesn't even recognize her: “Not my girl,” she says. Amini-Holmes illustrates this scene and others with full-page paintings in somber colors. The sad faces echo the child's misery. Gradually, though, with the help of her understanding father, she readjusts—even learning to drive a dog team. She contrasts her experience with that of the man the villagers call Du-bil-ak, the devil, a dark-skinned trapper no one speaks to. She has a home she can get used to again; he would always be alien. The first-person narrative is filled with details of this Inuit family’s adjustment to a new way of life in which books and reading matter as much as traditional skills. A scrapbook of photographs at the end helps readers enter this unfamiliar world, as do the occasional notes and afterword.

Olemaun’s spirit and determination shine through this moving memoir. (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55451-362-8

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Superficial but kind of fun.


Take a magic-carpet ride to far-flung and seldom-seen locations.

Readers can follow a young, pale-skinned, khaki-clad adventurer as they set out on their magic carpet to explore unusual, unexpected, and sometimes dangerous spots around the world. Locations visited include the exclusive interior of Air Force One, the remote depths of the Mariana Trench, and the (potentially) fatal shores of Brazil’s Snake Island, among others. Each adventure follows a uniform template, whereby the location is introduced in a sweeping double-page painting with an introductory paragraph followed by another spread of images and facts. The illustrations are attractive, a bit reminiscent of work done by the Dillons in the 1970s and ’80s. Alas, while the text correctly states that the Upper Paleolithic art in France’s Lascaux cave features only one depiction of a human, the introductory illustration interpolates without explanation a probably Neolithic hunting scene with several humans from a Spanish site—which is both confusing and wrong. Trivia fans will enjoy the mixture of fact and speculation about the various locations; a small further-reading section in the back points to more information. While the potentially off-putting choice of magic carpet as conveyance is never explained, there is a disclaimer warning readers that the book’s creators will not take responsibility if they suffer calamity trying to actually visit any of these places. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superficial but kind of fun. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5159-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Magic Cat

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Valuable both for its broad range and shivery appeal.



A mix of 32 timeless chillers and personal encounters with the supernatural gathered from Native American storytellers and traditions.

Carefully acknowledging his oral, online, and print sources (and appending lists of additional ones), Jones (Ponca) intersperses his own anecdotes and retellings with accounts by others collected in his travels. The generally brief entries are gathered into types, from brushes with ghosts or spirits (the latter distinguished by having “more complex agendas” than the former) to witches and monsters. In them, the tone ranges from mild eeriness—hearing an elder relative on the porch just moments after she died and seeing small footprints appear in wet concrete near the burial ground of an abandoned Oklahoma boarding school—to terrifying glimpses of were-owls, were-otters, a malign walking doll, and a giant water serpent with a “sinister smile.” They all join the more familiar (in children’s books, anyway) likes of Bigfoot and La Llorona. Linked to a broad diversity of traditions spanning the North American continent, the stories, both old—there’s one ascribed to the ancient Mississippian culture—and those given recent, even modern settings, are related in matter-of-fact language that underscores a common sense of how close the natural and supernatural worlds are. In sometimes-intricate ink drawings, Alvitre (Tongva) amps the creepiness by alternating depictions of everyday items with grinning skulls, heaps of bones, and the odd floating head.

Valuable both for its broad range and shivery appeal. (introductory notes) (Traditional literature. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-68160-4

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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