Fish-Boy – Vanita Oelschlager

Illustrations – Mike Blanc

Fish-Boy is an Inuit folk tale told by Vanita Oelschlager. It’s a wonderful book in which the story of Fish-Boy is told to a young child by Teragloona, a wise old Inuit man. Fish-Boy is the origin story that explains why there are so many sea-parrots (Atlantic puffins) on the stony islands of the far north. This is a story of fathers and sons, kindness and rejection, hospitality to guests, friendship and some magic.

I loved the story and found the glossary very helpful and well written. The illustrations by Mike Blanc are what initially grabbed my interest in this book and are absolutely brilliant. I loved the people, the backgrounds, the use of colour, and the way they immerse you in the story.

I adore the tradition of teaching origin stories to each generation by the elders in so many Indigenous cultures. I’ve had a huge interest in learning about Indigenous cultures, their traditions and stories since I was a child. I had a computer program called 500 Nations with audio by Kevin Costner and I’d lose all concept of time as I explored the richness of cultures I knew nothing about. This book has really whet my appetite again and I want to learn more about the culture of the Inuit people.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Vanita Books for the opportunity to read this book. I hope to see more books retelling other Inuit folk tales by Vanita and Mike.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The Arctic region of North America is a land of long days, icy cold, hardy people and peculiar creatures. The Inuit people there have made traditional use of remarkable folk tales to find truth and explain the mysteries of an astonishing world.

In Fish-Boy, An Inuit Folk Tale, Vanita Oelschlager retells a tale passed down by a wise old Inuit. It’s an origin story involving a little magic and a very odd boy with a large heart for friendship. On a journey with his new father, he must confront misfortune and the malice of cold hearted villagers. But he has a way … and a lesson for all in the virtues of kindness and hospitality. 

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