This unusual picture book tells of the life and/or legend of Czech folk hero Jan Welzl, who leaves his hometown to travel in the frozen north. There he survives through hard work and good fortune and by learning the ways of the Eskimos. The book ends on an ambiguous, incomplete note, with Jan deciding to protect his Eskimo friends from greedy Europeans seeking gold. The story is idealized but different enough to be intriguing, and the artwork is a fascinating series of scenes in mottled watercolors with precise pen-and-ink drawings and stamped figures of arctic animals, snowflakes, and the like. The overall effect is mysterious, and some children will enjoy poring over the detailed drawings and maps and fitting the story together.
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