4 out of 4 stars
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Eelonqa K. Harris blends political commentary with folkish prose in this visually appealing addition to her literary portfolio. Katiktaak and Kaviksaak follows the pair of eponymous twins, kind and hardworking as they are brought up in a small community in the arctic. Happenstance leads them to have several encounters with the greedy troll, an ornery fellow who cannot seem to keep out of trouble or show any gratitude when he ends up being rescued by the sisters. Quickly enough, the troll becomes blinded by his greed, and hatches a plan to protect his interests, but an unexpected hero emerges to save the day.
Fairly familiar with the author’s work, I had an idea of what to expect from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous sights of the Arctic photographed on each page. As usual, the author invested a huge amount of creativity into her work, going as far as to represent most of her characters with life-like dolls, which added an extra layer of reality to the story. The two main characters were portrayed by the author’s own grandkids, but I enjoyed the design of the troll the most.
This book also plays to the trend of Harris's works, with allusions that would be lost on young readers plain to their mature counterparts. Concurrent with the light-hearted lore is a serious theme centred on the exploitation of indigenous peoples. Repackaged for a slightly older audience, I believe Katiktaak and Kaviksaak would do very well as a Y/A fantasy novel as it already has seeds of fascination sprinkled throughout.
So far, this book is my favourite work from the author. It had a lot more structure and substance in my opinion, and the imagery was simply surreal at some points. My rating of Katiktaak and Kaviksaak is four out of four stars. The writing is easy and uncomplicated, given that it is meant for children, but adults might equally gain something from flipping through this book.
Katiktaak and Kaviksaak
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