Inspired by award-winning Inuk director Zacharias Kunuk’s short film of the same name, The Shaman’s Apprentice tells the story of a young shaman in training who must face her first test—a trip to the underground to visit Kannaaluk, The One Below, who holds the answers to why a community member has become ill. Facing dark spirits and physical challenges, the young shaman must learn to stifle her fear and listen to what Kannaaluk has to tell her.
"The folkloric and magical elements of the story will intrigue...Kyak-Monteith's detailed illustrations help to bring the Nunavut setting to life. Her arresting artwork draws readers into the story with detailed landscapes, dwellings, and furnishings; supernatural elements; and authentic belongings. A thought-provoking tale with an appended glossary."—Booklist
"The Shaman’s Apprentice is a lovely and engaging book, one which provides a window into traditional Inuit practice and relationships, situating the importance and centrality of the elder female in a position of knowledge and authority within the community. Despite both the dramatic and magical or supernatural elements of the story, it’s a surprisingly quiet and calm tale, complemented by the visual style of the artist. The use of many Inuit words adds to the richness of the atmosphere of the book."—CM Magazine
"This traditional Inuit story is rich with culture, language and an inter-generational relationship blended with subtle lessons about facing fears and karma...Zacharias Kunuk embeds us in a traditional setting of the Inuit and honours this story with its messages of customs and beliefs...As with all traditional storytelling that is destined to teach and carry forward culture, The Shaman's Apprentice does so admirably in words and art, informing those outside of the culture and preserving it for those within."—CanLit for Little Canadians
"The Inuk filmmaker’s book looks at young Supijaq, a shaman in training who follows her grandmother underground to heal a sick man. Is Supijaq brave enough to face this important test in her training and meet Kannaaluk, the One Below, who can tell them why the man’s sick? Kyak-Monteith’s illustrations beautifully capture the power and darkness of this folktale."—The Globe and Mail
"The Shaman’s Apprentice is an excellent addition to a growing number of Indigenous authored and illustrated picture books.— Quill & Quire