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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sweetest Kulu, by Celina Kalluk and illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis. Inhabit Media, Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2014. $16.95 ages 1 and up

"Melodies of wind arrived,
sharing voices of how the
weather forms, and telling
you to always listen closely.
Wise Wind had learned
your name, charming Kulu,
and invited the world to
meet you."

What a welcome Kulu receives upon his birth! His arrival coincides with summer in the Arctic, and his first words of welcome come from Smiling Sun who stays through the night to assure a warm blanket and enough light. After the Wind shares its stories, the animals of the Arctic make their presence known when they start arriving.

According to traditional Inuit beliefs, each of the animals that presents itself has a very important role to play in Inuit lives and a special blessing to bestow:

"Arctic Hare, with rock willow and roots,
came to show you love so easily.
You became a best friend, baby Kulu, loving to give."


The entire book sings a song of love for nature and the Arctic, with a tiny baby being the reason to ensure a connection between the two. The author is a noted throat singer, and her words weave the traditions and beliefs of her people throughout the telling. The illustrations are as tender as the blessings imparted to 'sweetest Kulu'. They exude a warmth and glow that is indicative of the northern world that is home to this brand new life.
"Thinking of you,
Arctic Char enjoyed reflections in waters so sea green,
and gave you tenderness, too, beautiful and handsome Kulu."
This book is filled with peaceful promise and would make a welcome and winning gift for a new baby and its parents.  

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