Niitu and Chips
Niitu and Chips
When they get to the lake, Chips belly-flops right onto the ice. He doesn’t mind if the ice is thin. He loves the cold water. But Niitu is careful to check the ice before he steps on it.
Niitu chips away at the ice to make a jigging hole while Chips lies on the ice catching some sun.
Chips is bored. He is much better at catching fish than Niitu is. And he doesn’t need a hook. Chips lies on the ice watching the ravens fly by overhead. Will Niitu EVER catch a fish? Chips thinks.
Niitu is an Inuit boy, and Chips is a seal. They are best friends going out to catch fish. Niitu prepares to go fishing by bringing supplies, snacks to eat and hooks and line and something with which to break the ice and make a hole. While Niitu prepares the hole and sets the line, Chips is lying on the ice and soon gets bored. It seems like it is taking forever for Niitu to get a fish. When Niitu gets a bite, he tries to bring in the fish, but it gets away. Then Chips slides into hole, brings up a fish, and they are on their way home. The seal is clearly much better suited to fishing.
The full-page, full-colour illustrations are beautifully rendered and support the text completely. The style is Northern Inuit, a cartoon format with strong black outlines emphasizing the many details in the picture. The landscapes are realistic. The colours used are deep and vivid. Children will enjoy learning the story by following the illustrations and hearing the text read to them.
Teachers/caregivers can use Niitu and Chips when studying the North or discussing friendship, and animal habitats.
Elizabeth Brown, a retired teacher-librarian, formerly worked for Winnipeg School Division.