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Shirlee P. Newman
New York, Franklin Watts, 1993. 64pp,
cloth, $22.65, ISBN 0-531-20073-6.
Distributed by Nelson Canada. CIP

Subject Heading:
Inuit-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13

Reviewed by Patricia Fry

Volume 22 Number 4
1994 September

The title of this book,  The Inuits, has a jarring effect, because "Inuit" is already a collective plural noun. ("Inuk" is the singular of "Inuit.") The use of the word "Inuits" throughout the book bothered me because I kept wondering how factually correct the rest of the information was.

In fact, the text is very readable, interesting and informative. The book is American in focus, with many examples of life in Alaska. This book is set up almost exactly like Inuit (reviewed this issue) in the "Threatened Cultures" series, published a year later.

The text begins with a map and then the book is divided into sections dealing with the Inuit way of life followed by the impact of white culture. The book ends with a glossary of Inuktitut and English terms, suggestions for further reading, and an index. It is unfortunate that the table of contents was not contained on one page, which was possible, or at least spread over two facing pages. As it is, some students found it confusing.

The book is well illustrated with about thirty photographs, mainly in colour. There are some interesting black-and-white archival photos. I think the photograph of the carved stone figure, which is on the title page, would have been a better choice for the front cover of the book. The cover photo of a wooden mask is quite dark and does not appeal to young readers.

This book is aimed at an elementary school audience, grades 4 to 8. I would not recommend it for purchase until the misleading use of "Inuits" is corrected. Otherwise, it was generally informative and very readable.

Patricia Fry is a teacher-librarian at Erindale Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario

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