Early Book Review: Fish-Boy by Vanita Oelschlager

Fish-Boy: An Inuit Folk Tale is a picturebook by Vanita Oelschlager with art by Mike Blanc. It is currently scheduled for release on May 1 2018. 
The Arctic region of North America is a land of long days, icy cold, hardy people and peculiar creatures.  The Inuit people there have made traditional use of remarkable folk tales to find truth and explain the mysteries of an astonishing world. In this book Vanita Oelschlager retells a tale passed down by a wise old Inuit.  It is an origin story involving a little magic and a very odd boy with a large heart for friendship.  On a journey with his new father, he must confront misfortune and the malice of cold-hearted villagers.  But he has a way, and a lesson for all in the virtues of kindness and hospitality.
Fish-Boy is a beautifully illustrated tale, and one I am glad I explored. It is a little more complex and text heavy than the typical picturebook, however I think the book does exactly what it was meant to. It imparts an important tale from a culture that too many have ignored. While the laws of hospitality are not unique to the Inuit culture, I had not heard this particular story before. The art is captivating, and will keep younger readers that might not be able to read the book on their own, or understand the finer details, interested. I loved that a glossary and ideas for using creativity and expand thinking were included in the back. A bonus for those that buy the book, which I was unaware of, is that all the net profits from the sales of this book will be donate to the Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis by Vanita Books. 

Fish-Boy is an older picturebook that tells a valuable story from a culture too few have explored. I think the depth of the story and wording makes it good for an audience a little older than the traditional picturebook crowd, but the story and message is one that should speak to everyone.

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