Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 7
- Grade: p to 2
- Reading age: 4 to 7
A young girl discovers nature’s surprising beauty in this tale from a renowned Inuit storyteller.
When Aggataa goes for a cold winter walk with her grandmother, she’s surprised by a sudden CRAH! All the birds have flown south for the winter except one kind—the tulugarguat, the ravens. They’re the ugliest birds that Aggaataa has ever seen. They look like they slept in their coats—coats that don’t even fit! However, as the winter slowly moves towards spring, Aggataa connects with one small raven in particular.
As the seasons change in full, the ravens leave and are replaced by seagulls, cranes, geese, ducks, and swans—all of them far more elegant than the “Ugly Bird.” But where Aggataa once thought the ravens odd for visiting during the harshest part of the year, she now finds herself watching the horizon, waiting for the return of the most amazing bird.
This touching story by award-winning author Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak reminds us of our lasting connection to nature, while art by celebrated illustrator Andrew Qappik, CM, illuminates the enduring magic of the changing seasons.
About the authors
Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak is an Inuit storyteller who grew up in Repulse Bay, NWT (now Naujaat, Nunavut). During his childhood, his family traveled by dog sled, living a traditional Inuit lifestyle. He is the author of many picture books, including Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails, winner of the Ruth Schwartz Award.
He won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature in 2008.
Andrew Qappik, CM has always been inspired by vivid memories of his respected Elders and their stories. He is a member of the Order of Canada and is well-known throughout the Canadian Arctic for his design of the flag for Nunavut, as well as the territory’s coat of arms and official logo. He lives in Pangnirtung, Nunavut.
- Joint winner, Top 10 Picture Books of the Year, The Globe and Mail
- Joint winner, Kirkus Best Books List
“Stunningly contemporary and amazingly timeless.”
Kirkus Reviews, *starred review, 09/15/20
“The language is simple and direct and, at times, beautiful in its description. The text is perfectly complemented by the drawings . . . That both author and illustrator are Indigenous people helps to achieve a particularly unified vision for The Most Amazing Bird. Highly Recommended.”
CM Reviews, 10/23/2020
“Sparse illustrations of arctic flora and fauna against the unforgiving snow and ice make this picture book immersive.”
Foreword Reviews, 11/20
“This beautiful tale provides gentle hints as to Inuk life in a sparsely poetic landscape. Delicate watercolors . . . complement the hushed storytelling.”
School Library Journal, 12/07/20
“The illustrations enrich the text and celebrate the heartwarming message that nature is a wonderful gift that we can connect to and relish.”
“Renowned Inuit storyteller Kusugak’s text is succinct yet lyrical . . . An engaging look at life in Canada’s North.”