A Promise is a Promise
When Allashua breaks her promise to her mother and goes fishing on the sea ice, she learns that the story of the Qallupilluit is true. There is a race of creatures who try to drag human children down to their home under the ice, and unless Allashua's quick-thinking mother can save them, Allashua and her brothers and sisters will be their next victims.
Allashua, a young Inuit girl, makes a promise to her mother that she will go fishing on the lake, not on the sea ice where she might be dragged under the water by the Qallupilluit. She takes her promise as seriously as she takes the threat of being captured by imaginary creatures.
Unfortunately for Allashua, her mother was right. As the Qallupilluit drag her down under the water, Allashua gains a reprieve by promising to bring her brothers and sisters to the cracks in the sea ice. How can the children be saved if the promise to the Qallupilluit must be fulfilled? Allashua's mother has a plan.
This book comes in the Classic Munsch series, but we have three collaborators to thank for the resonance which lifts it above the ordinary. We have Robert Munsch's familiar narrative style - even if you don't have a cross-legged kindergarten class around you on a mat, you can pick out the lines where their little voices should come chiming in. The story line comes from Michael Kusugak, who learned about the Qallupilluit in his own childhood while hunting with has family on Hudson Bay. Finally, we have the bright illustrations of Vladyana Krykorka to bring the story to life. In her work, we can sense the strength and serenity of Allashua's family, while the Qallupilluit come across not as monsters, but as a strange and beautiful folk who never quite leave the sea behind them even when they emerge on land. When these three strands are woven together, what emerges is a little master work, a gem of Canadian literature for the very little.