Graphic Novel Review: Putuguq & Kublu

“You could have been hurt! You two need to be more careful near that inuksuk.” page 10

Putuguq & Kublu by Danny Christopher, illustrated by Astrid Arijanto.
Inhabit Media, Iqualuit, Nunavut, Canada, 2017.
Early reader graphic novel, 40 pages.
Not leveled.

Putuguq and his dog are trying to play a trick on big sister Kublu.  While running across the tundra they meet Grandpa who reminds them to be careful around the inuksuit.  Of course then Putuguq has to try to lift his own stone… but the results aren’t what he expected!


Putuguq and Kublu 1 cover resized

This is the first book of a graphic novel series called Putuguq & Kublu.   We had already read the second title (without realizing that it was the second in a series) called Putuguq & Kublu and the Qualupaliit!  I didn’t see any more in this series yet, but would definitely continue to buy them if more are released.

This is the introductory book, which shows us a little about our favorite siblings and their world.  I’m not very familiar with tundra seasons but am guessing that this takes place in the spring or summer, because flowers are shown blooming.

What level this series is read at will probably depend a lot on context.  Children familiar with the far north would be able to read this much younger than those who may be intimidated by the Inuktitut words.  It is at just the right level for my sensitive 8 year old reader – with a little help on some of the more difficult words. While this doesn’t have chapters, I’ve tagged it with early chapter book as that is most representative of the reading ability needed.

Putuguq and Kublu 1 page 12-13 resized
Pages 12 and 13 of Putuguq & Kublu show both the storytelling art style, and the style used for the main story line.

We continue to absolutely love the clean and simple art style, full of detail and emotion.  The artwork draws the reader into the story as one laughs, cries, and learns with Putuguq and Kublu.  This first volume had considerably less text and more action, so the static panels that bothered me last time weren’t an issue here, although I would still love to occasionally see more dynamic panel choices.  Both the text (“super villian”) and the artwork also place this firmly in the present day, which is crucial in indigenous literature.

I continued to have the same problem as with the second book – the panels weren’t well defined.  It is less of a problem when reading this first volume though, because this story relies more on visual sequencing.  However, I do greatly hope that the third volume includes center margins or some other aid for young readers not used to following panels.  It’s a shame for anyone to be turned off from such a great book for a formatting problem.

Putuguq and Kublu 1 page 36 resized
In the back matter on page 36, we learn about inuksuit.

With less text, the sometimes stilted translation from Inuktitut was also less of an issue.  This volume teaches about inuksuit and Tuniit.  Perhaps because we had heard of inuksuit before, we absorbed the information in this one more quickly.  The end pages once again give suggestions for further reading, and I’m hoping to convince my local library to purchase the book recommended about Tuniit.

We hope Inhabit Media continues publishing graphic novels and in particular more volumes to this series.  I am happy to have found this series and enjoyed the first volume.  These would make a good addition to school and classroom libraries, just look up pronunciation before reading aloud.  Recommended.

Author: colorfulbookreviews

I work in a library by day and parent the rest of the time. I am passionate about good books representing the full spectrum of human diversity for every age group and reading level. This blog is my attempt to help parents, educators, and librarians find the best children's books authored by or featuring characters of color.

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