Camilla Sommer & Pernille Kreutzmann (ill.)

Camilla Sommer & Pernille Kreutzmann (ill.)
Casper Bach Zeeb
Camilla Sommer & Pernille Kreutzmann (ill.): Tuttuarannguaq. Picture book, Maanuup Atuakkiorfia, 2018.

The reindeer calf lives a safe and secure life with her mother. Her mother tells her about the strange and dangerous two-legged animals that love reindeer. One day, the reindeer are ambushed by the strange two-legged animals. The reindeer calf runs far away. She waits and waits for her mother. The other reindeer tell her that her mother is unfortunately no longer among them, as she has been hunted by the strange two-legged animals. The reindeer calf refuses to believe that her mother is dead, because her mother is strong and looks after the reindeer calf.

But with time the reindeer calf realises that her mother is indeed dead. Sorrow overwhelms her. She loses her appetite and joy in life, and is very lonely. Before this episode, the reindeer calf had met another little reindeer out at the lake that resembled her mother. Now the reindeer calf meets this reindeer again. The other reindeer also looks sad. The reindeer calf thinks: Maybe this reindeer has also lost its mother. In the meantime, a small fish appears and becomes good friends with the reindeer calf. But then winter arrives. The two best friends cannot see each other for many months, but they look forward to seeing each other again when spring comes.

During the winter, the reindeer calf grows. She learns to live alone despite the loss of her mother. Then the reindeer calf once again sees the reindeer that resembles her mother. Now the other reindeer looks completely like her mother. Eventually, the good friends see each other again. Their offspring also become friends. The reindeer calf repeats her mother’s wise words about life: Everything can change in a moment. You have to be strong inside. But the most important thing is to have mutual respect.

Camilla Sommer’s book is simple, but focuses on its existential theme. She allows her animal characters, equipped with recognisable human qualities and emotions, to struggle with ethical challenges and existential issues. At the same time, the book reminds us of the friendships that can exist despite differences.

The story of the reindeer calf is illustrated by Pernille Kreutzmann. The illustrations are beautiful and function well in conjunction with the narrative, while supporting the child’s experience of the situation. Through the pictures, the reader experiences how small the reindeer calf is in relation to the vastness of nature, and they bring the reader closer to the experiential world of the reindeer. At the same time, the text and pictures stimulate ideas and the imagination, and give readers the opportunity and space to think for themselves.