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The Hungy Giant of the Tundra

The Hungry Giant of the Tundra
retold by Teri Sloat, illustrated by Robert and Teri Sloat

Available in paperback from Alaska Northwest Books (imprint of GACPC)!

• SF Chronicle Holiday Choice
• Alaska Book List, 2002–2003


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 will relish.

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 twice—once 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 audience.

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 name—THERESA ANN SMITH! That's when I knew I better hurry home.

My husband and I illustrated this book together—it 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 background—mountains, 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.


© Teri Sloat 2006