The Shipwreck: The Inuk Quartet

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—This beautifully illustrated epic adventure, set circa 1000 CE, begins with the shocking, retaliatory beheading of young Viking Leiv's father by Thorstein Gunnarsson. The playful boy becomes withdrawn and vows to take revenge. When Thorstein casts off from Iceland for Greenland to serve out his sentence of exile, Leiv stows away onboard but is swept into the sea during a storm. An Inuit brother and sister, Apuluk, 12, and Narua, 11, find him and care for him in secret-their shaman would regard the stranger as an evil spirit-until he has learned enough Inuit words to be taken to their settlement. Leiv learns their ways and comes to admire the independence of the children, their ability to survive happily in a harsh environment, and their lack of interest in violence or useless material possessions. The narrative is straightforward and well paced, with several engaging dramatic episodes. Riel skillfully interweaves information about the Inuit culture, language, and environment without being didactic. Vocabulary may pose a challenge for less-advanced readers, and mention of beheadings and amputations may be unsuitable for others. But Cann's ethereal watercolor, graphite, and collage illustrations in cool blue tones and browns have a calmer mood that will enchant readers with the beauty of the Arctic landscape. With its engaging story and important messages, this book will be an asset to multicultural and social-studies units. Also suggest it to lovers of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (Bradbury, 1987) and Margi Preus's Heart of a Samurai (Abrams, 2010).—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews

When Leiv, a Viking boy, is shipwrecked near Greenland, two Inuit siblings, Apuluk and Narua, rescue him and eventually bring him to their community.

In 1000 C.E., Norsemen traveled to Greenland, but there were few contacts with the Inuit community. At first, the Inuits want nothing to do with Leiv, but because he demonstrates that he knows some of their language and seems peaceful, they accept him. This is a harsh adventure tale: Leiv loses several toes due to frostbite, and Apuluk is attacked by a polar bear. From its opening scene of a blood feud started by Leiv's father's killing and the rigors of Arctic life, the characters act as adults despite their adolescent ages.The Inuit life is idealized, in comparison to the warlike, possession-hungry Norse culture. Narua is portrayed as a fearless young woman, but then she only wants a needle when the three young people find the Norse settlement near the end. Is Riel's message a little heavy? Heavily illustrated with full-page bold, stylized watercolors, some double-page spreads and occasional vignettes, this transitional chapter book employs a large font and very generous white space.

Although the language is a bit stilted and the message far from subtle, this Danish translation, first in a four-part series, will appeal to those seeking adventure, strong friendship and survival stories at a lower reading level than usual. (Adventure. 9-11)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846863356
  • Publisher: Barefoot Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 111
  • Sales rank: 954,712
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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