From a puppet show, created for the Children’s Museum of the American Indian in New York City, after a visit to the Inuits in Canada, the now published story of SNOWBEAR inspired by Inuit Folktales is written and illustrated by Elisabeth Schalij, a writer and visual artist living in the Dallas TX area.
The show turned out to be a tremendous success, performing mostly for the New York City school system and museums in the surrounding areas. The program taught the children in an appealing way about the American Indians which was part of the school curriculum.
After the children’s museum was discontinued and I moved away from New York I was urged by the many people who had seen the show to put the story of SNOWBEAR in writing with illustrations.
As children confide to animals and tell them often secrets they would not always reveal to adults, the story of SNOWBEAR is a perfect way to engage them in lessons on how to cope in real life.
Tiak and Unu, the two children in the story are guided by the animals through songs, teaching them many lessons in life, guiding them in their search for their father who went hunting but didn’t come back in time. Snowbear guided them through their perilous journey, protecting them against the dangers encountered on their way. They found their father who brought them finally back to their people.
Markel the Magnigicent
The story of Markel the Magnificient is based on an old unhappy neighbor of Elisabeth who had totally isolated himself from the outside world after his wife died.
Reaching the point of not being able to take care of himself any more, Elisabeth invited him to move in with her in Texas. Through Elisabeth's friends he met many people of a younger generation and was introduced to a friend who accepted his offer to travel with him all over Europe.
When reaching the point of needing nursing care, Elisabeth moved him in a nursing home. At thi spoint, he had already become a more outgoing person and was open to communicate with the residents and nursing staff, relating many stories of his past as a sculptor, as well as his experiences during World War II, when he was enlisted as an engineer, building air fields in the Pacific. Being able to talk abou this past was such a freeing experience that he peacefully died when his time had came.