The Hungry Giant of the Tundra
retold by Teri Sloat, illustrated by Robert and
Available in paperback from Alaska
Northwest Books (imprint of GACPC)!
SF Chronicle Holiday Choice
Alaska Book List, 20022003
Booklist: This Yup'ik tale, like many stories
of this native Alaskan tribe, entertains as well as instructs about
conduct in a northern environment where obedience to directions
often determines survival. Softly colored drawings accent the humor
and also capture summertime on the tundra.
Library Talk: Illustrations in earth tones
portray life on the tundra, offering authentic touches that Alaskans
Nayec Reviewers Choice:
fine, fun illustrations.
The hungry, rather stupid giant is wonderfully ugly and fierce-looking
in a friendly sort of way.
Kirkus Starred Review: Wonderfully appealing
in every way.
School Library Journal: A masterful retelling
that combines rich, lively language that reads aloud well and colorful,
detailed illustrations. A welcome addition to folk-tale collections.
About the Book
This book has been written
twiceonce in Yup'ik (the language of the people in western
Alaska where I illustrated the story for the first time) and I liked
the story so much that I rewrote it in English to share with a bigger
The little boy in the story and his friends did not
come in when their parents called them and soon the giant was roaming
the tundra looking for his evening meal. It reminded me of when
my mother would call me in at night and I would pretend not to hear
her. Eventually, though, I heard her call my whole nameTHERESA
ANN SMITH! That's when I knew I better hurry home.
My husband and I illustrated this book togetherit
was a new experience for both of us to work on each other's art!
We planned the book together, then I planned it out with the text.
He drew the backgroundmountains, houses, etc. and drew the
anatomy of the children. I dressed the children and gave them personalities
so they would look the same throughout the book. Bob painted the
watercolor backgrounds, and I put the colored pencil on top. If
you look at the giant's hands you will see Bob's (he should wash
them, don't you think?).
We had a good time looking at our old photographs
of villages where we lived in western Alaska in a village similar
to the one in the book on the Kuskokwim River. We learned that we
see the world in different ways.
The giant's name sounds like A-CHAK-GHUA-CHANK-AHK.
His name doesn't really have a meaning. It is the sound of someone
big squishing across the boggy tundra.