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Magic Words: From the Ancient Oral Tradition of the Inuit Paperback – September 1, 2013
The Amazon Book Review
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This free-verse poem, translated from a traditional Inuit tale, invokes a time when people and animals spoke the same language and could interchange bodies if they so chose. Back then words were magic, and the creatures could make things happen just by saying them. No explanation is given: “That’s the way it was.” Blanc’s striking, stylized full-page illustrations, which seem in keeping with Inuit culture, were created with ink and charcoal pencil and then digitally colored with somber tones and highlighted with spots of bright color. Abundant creatures—human, animal, and combinations of the two—pack, but don’t overwhelm, each double-page spread, skillfully enhancing the succinct text. The one jarring note is a mermaid, which feels a bit out of place. Although those looking for a full-fledged story will not find it here, this is a wonderful window into many aspects of Inuit culture and a useful tool for introducing creation tales and fantasy in general. Grades K-2. --Randall Enos --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
languages, where the world of the imagination mixes easily with the physical. It
began as a story that told how the Inuit people came to be and became a legend
passed from generation to generation. In translation it grew from myth to poem.
The text comes from expedition notes recorded by Danish explorer Knud
Rasmussen in 1921. Edward Field got a copy from the Harvard Library and
translated it into English.
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What if I could talk with animals?
What if I could magically transform into an animal?
What if the person I am talking to, is actually an animal in human form?
What if a single word spoken by me is so powerful that it magically becomes alive and manifests in front of my eyes?
The poem leaves all the questions and answers open to explore for the reader. That is what makes the book so interesting.If you want to learn about your children, read the poem to them, take a step back, give them some time, and then let them lead the dialogue. Be open to their ideas. After all, it is their imagination.
At home, this poem is perfect for bedtime. In a school setting, I can see it being used interdisciplinary in many subjects. Overall, Magic Words deserves 5 stars.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
This is a beautiful children's book! My four-year-old was fascinated by the idea of people turning into animals and vice versa. He started talking about the different animals he would want to morph into, and I loved the conversations that followed. Some of the illustrations, which were breathtaking and utterly captivating, showed what appeared to be animal-human hybrids. A human face with deer legs and a fish tail, for example.
Magic Words also emphasizes how important words are, and that saying them can have unforeseen consequences. Words have the potential to be powerful, and people should be careful how they use them.
Originally posted at Do You Dog-ear? on June 15, 2018.
I received this book as an eARC for free from the author, the publishers, and NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.
Words do have power. The power to rip, to hurt, to destroy. As well as the power to build up, to protect, and to show love. People love to talk without actually considering what they’re saying. The saying the pen is mightier than the sword has stuck around for all these years for a reason. I think its very important that our kids understand this idea.
With that being said, the book does stand out spectacularly for one particular reason. The artwork. The illustrations in this book are amazing. Rich colors spill across the page, leaving no piece untouched. Bold, sweeping lines trace out figures and land for us. The chalk/charcoal look makes you want to run your hands over the pages as you expect them to be as soft and wonderful to feel as they are to look at. Mike Blanc provided a gorgeous backdrop for the tale this book told. He truly is an extremely talented artist.
Overall, this is a gorgeous book with a super simple message, and would be a great addition to a child’s library.
Disclaimer: We received an ARC from Netgalley for review consideration.
This early tale of the Inuit a based on oral tradition and was first translated almost 50 years ago. Edward Field has done a great job with providing a poetic passage accessible for all ages and Mike Blanc has provided beautiful art to accompany the story.
I think I would have liked it if somehow the book could have signaled that the poem had ended. (Obviously not as part of the text.) The text of the poem reads such that it's not obvious you're reading the last line. It's probably true to the oral tradition, and I'm not faulting that. However, when you turn the page after the last line and you're expecting more, I think it that might be confusing for modern audiences. I don't know what I'm asking for except maybe the book give some kind of indication that the poem is done. It almost seems like there are pages missing.
Otherwise, the book is amazing.
Thanks to NetGallery and Vanita Books for a copy on exchange for an honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
The images along with the short sentences on the page just wow.
This was a beautiful book that children will love as well as the adults that may read it with them.Read more