December 4, 2013

Story saved by pictures

by Marion Lewis

Kaugjagjuk and his sister are separated from their parents when they become trapped on an ice floe. Carried to a distant shore, they struggle to survive. Kaugjagjuk's sister does not make it, but Kaugjagjuk comes across a small village. Unfortunately, the villagers are very cruel and subject Kaugjagjuk to more hardship. Loved only by the dogs, Kaugjagjuk is helped by the Man of the Moon, who whips him until he has grown tall and strong. With his strength, Kaugjagjuk is able to kill three polar bears that threaten the village. The villagers finally regret their mistreatment of Kaugjagjuk, but he walks away.

In an epilogue, Lewis explains the meaning of the Kaugjagjuk legend, and in an author's note, talks about the different adaptations of the story. Often, these adaptations are quite violent and bleak. Lewis' version is more positive; however, children may find it a bit unsettling. It may help if they're encouraged to think of an alternate ending. Remind them that Kaugjagjuk is not alone, he still has the dogs for company. 

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