A Journey to the Mother of the Sea – Maliaraq Vebaek, illustrated by Aka Hoegh

   A Journey to the Mother of the Sea – Maliaraq Vebaek, illustrated by Aka Hoegh, Inhabit Media Inc, 9781772272512, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre: Picture/Folktale

 What did you like about the book? I like the message–take care of the oceans. This story is a retelling of a Greenlandic legend about the Mother of the Sea and her powers of controlling the sea life that humans need for survival. When the Mother of the Sea feels that the oceans are clean and respected, she rewards humans with an abundance of sea animals for food and clothing. When she feels the seas are being threatened, she keeps all the sea life contained deep below with her. The only way to remedy this problem is to send a very wise and powerful shaman down to the Mother of the Sea and ask for mercy and forgiveness. This task falls on an elderly female shaman, and despite her age and reservations, she begins her journey to the bottom of the sea. Once respect and order are restored with the Mother of the Sea, the humans can now enjoy the abundance of the ocean.

 Anything you did not like about the book. This is a retelling of a tale and I do not know the original but there were a few parts that seemed a little weird (the woman was eaten by a polar bear and a walrus, was pooped out, and came back as herself but now walking under the sea). Also, the illustrations of the Mother of the Sea showed her topless (although she did have clothing on her bottom half). Not to be a prude, but this would be hugely distracting for young children that would be reading this book

To whom would you recommend this book? The appropriate age might be early elementary grades. This would be enjoyed by children that have shown an interest in folktales, especially ones with an important message.

Who should buy this book? I would not recommend it simply for the topless illustration. Maybe I should not be so caught up on that but I can see this being a distraction and maybe not checked out as much because of that. I have seen that happen with other books that show more coverage but maybe not enough and parents just don’t seem to want to go there.

Where would you shelve it? Folktales

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: December 9, 2019


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