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Children's Fiction Dogs

The Littlest Sled Dog

by (author) Michael Kusugak

illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2008
Dogs, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Native Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2010
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2008
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Sep 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 3 to 5


Igvillu is a little dog with big dreams. One of her favorite dreams is of becoming a sled dog. When Igvillu is adopted from her kennel by an Inuit storyteller and moves to northern Canada, she comes face-to-face with real sled dogs. Igvillu loves living in the North, chasing siksiks and dreaming about her future. She's a dog who believes anything is possible!

About the authors

MICHAEL KUSUGAK grew up in Repulse Bay, NWT (now Nunavut).During his childhood, his family travelled by dog sled, living a traditionalInuit lifestyle. He is the author of seven picture books, including NorthernLights: The Soccer Trails, winner of the Ruth Schwartz Award; Hide andSeek; My Arctic 1, 2, 3; and Baseball Bats for Christmas;and was co-writer of A Promise Is a Promise (with RobertMunsch). Michael Kusugak lives in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

Michael Kusugak's profile page

Vladyana Krykorka has illustrated and designed over 30 books for children. Her work has received numerous awards, including the Toronto Public Library’s recognition of Baseball Bats for Christmas as one of the 100 best children’s books of all time. In the last two years she has conducted art workshops in several Quebec Arctic communities, working with Inuit teachers in the creation of their own books and class materials, as well as textile printmaking techniques.

Vladyana Krykorka's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
  • Winner, Alcuin Design Award

Editorial Reviews

"A lovely story...My children loved this book as we own a Cairn and can totally relate to the dog's spunky personality. Recommended."

Tucson Unified School District

"Dog lovers will enjoy this story of dreaming big and just may learn about life in Nunavut, as the story and illustrations contain details that can dispel misconceptions about life in the great Northern reaches of Canada."

School Library Journal

"A charming story that meshes the reality of life in the north and the imaginary world of a dreamy little pet. Kusugak writes fluently but manages to retain some of the cadence of a traditional storyteller. Krykorka's stunning illustrations evoke a world of the tundra in both summer and winter. Highly recommended."

CM Magazine

"This humble children's narrative is a great read and a visual treat for any child or parent."

St. Albert Gazette

"Delightful picture book."

The Globe and Mail

"Kusugak writes with sly irony, poking fun at the romantic fantasies of 'The North' that one finds in adventure stories...Igvillu is an endearing pooch and her master has a marked resemblance to Kusugak - something kids might enjoy noticing...Some Inuktitut words and explanations for Arctic features give the story added substance."

The Toronto Star

"This story is engaging and richly evocative of the Arctic landscape...a solid Canadian pick for all collections."

Resource Links

"[It] will appeal to young dog lovers, not only because Igvillu himself is so charming, but because his story evokes the essential conflict of childhood-the need to venture out into the big, cold world to explore, while never straying too far from the warmth and safety of home."

Quill & Quire

"An endearing story for elementary children... [that] subtly includes Inuit life, both in words and illustrated landscapes, as a way to introduce the reader to Inuit culture."

The Bookmark (BCTLA)

"The story's sly confluence of fantasy and reality, tradition and modernity, is captured in Krykorka's candy-colored pictures that blithely swoop from Igvillu's dreams to the equally spectacular Nunavut landscape."

Horn Book Magazine

"Vladyana Krykorka's swirling, aurora-bright illustrations blend with a charming story for young children."

The Georgia Straight

Librarian Reviews

The Littlest Sled Dog

This picture book reflects life in the north through the tale of one small cairn terrier puppy who, hearing her mother describe the lives of dogs around the world, dreams of being a big, strong sled dog. When she is sent to live with a storyteller in Rankin Inlet, she enjoys life in the north … and learns that dreams can change! Kusugak incorporates many aspects of Inuit culture and the northern environment throughout the story. Vladyana’s first-hand knowledge of the north is incorporated in her colourful, energetic full-page pictures that illustrate the story.

This is the ninth book by this author and illustrator duo.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2009-2010.

The Littlest Sled Dog

Igvillu is a little pooch with big dreams. Her favourite one is of becoming a sled dog. An Inuit storyteller adopts her from a kennel and moves to northern Canada. She loves living in the North and chasing siksiks. When she comes snout-to-snout with real sled dogs, she realizes she likes her own life. This book includes an afterword.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

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