Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
- Reading age: 6 to 8
In this traditional Inuit story, a simple walk on the tundra becomes a life-or-death journey for a young man. When he comes across a giant who wants to take him home and cook him for dinner, the young man's quick thinking saves him from being devoured—and in the process, releases fog into the world for the very first time.
Written by Cape Dorest elder Qaunaq Mikkigak and Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award-nominated author Joanne Schwartz, this action-packed picture book brings a centuries-old traditional tale to life for modern readers.
About the authors
Qaunaq Mikkigak is an elder, artist, and throat singer from Cape Dorset, Nunavut. She was born in 1932 in the Cape Dorset area and grew up on the land in a traditional Inuit community. She was featured in the books Inuit Women Artists: Voices from Cape Dorset and Cape Dorset Sculpture. She has collaborated with author Joanne Schwartz on picture book versions of two traditional Inuit tales, The Legend of the Fog and Grandmother Ptarmigan. She is well known locally for her storytelling, and her throat singing has been featured on several recordings.
Joanne Schwartz was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her first picture book, Our Corner Grocery Store, illustrated by Laura Beingessner, was nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. Her other books include City Alphabet and City Numbers, with photos by Matt Beam, and two Inuit folktales with Cape Dorset elder Qaunaq Mikkigak — The Legend of the Fog, illustrated by Danny Christopher, and Grandmother Ptarmigan, illustrated by Qin Leng. Joanne has been a children’s librarian for more than twenty-five years. She lives in Toronto.
Danny Christopher has travelled throughout the Canadian Arctic as an instructor for Nunavut Arctic College. He is the illustrator of The Legend of the Fog, A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds, and Animals Illustrated: Polar Bear, and author of Putuguq and Kublu. His work on The Legend of the Fog was nominated for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustration Award. He lives in Toronto with his wife, three children, and a puppy.
“The prose has numerous poetic touches that complement the grim illustrations . . .”
The Legend of the FogThe focus of Inhabit Media is to acquaint modern-day readers with the rich tradition of Inuit storytelling and to ensure that aspects of Inuit oral history are preserved for future generations. Here are two creative publications that pertain to Arctic mythological creatures.
The Legend of the Fog also concerns a monster, though the tone here is definitely more sinister than in The Qalupalik. A young man named Quannguaviniq walks on the tundra, meeting there an enormous tuurngaq, a demonic spirit in the shape of a hideous giant. Fearing that the tuurngaq will kill him, Quannguaviniq lies upon the ground, pretending to be frozen to death. Fooled, the monster carries the man to his family, where they wait for the body to thaw before devouring him. As the family sleeps, Quannguaviniq plans his escape. He beheads the tuurngaq and runs out into the darkness, only to be followed relentlessly by the giant’s terrifying wife. The ever resourceful young man urges her to drink all the water from a river until she explodes. The steam emanating from her body creates a thick fog over the land, this for the very first time.
From the opening sentence, Nunavut storyteller Qaunaq Mikkigak, together with Toronto librarian and author Joanne Schwartz, entrances us with the retelling of this centuries-old Inuit tale. Readers will experience good versus evil, the force of nature and plenty of suspense. Details such as “The cry of the raven pierced the silence. Then it was quiet again,” contribute greatly to the richness of the text.
Danny Christopher’s digital and watercolour illustrations effectively portray the barren and haunting Arctic environment. Although most of the story takes place at night, Christopher masterfully employs the shards of light radiating from the moonlight and campfire to outline the ghostly setting and characters.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2012. Volume 35 No. 2.
The Legend of the FogIn this traditional Inuit story, a simple walk on the tundra becomes a life-or-death journey for a young man. When he comes across a giant who wants to take him home and cook him for dinner, the young man’s quick thinking saves him from being devoured by the giant and his family, and in the process, releases the first fog into the world.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.