A Promise Is A Promise

Authors: Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak

In spite of her mother’s warning about sea monsters called the Qallupilluit, Allashua goes fishing alone on the sea ice. When the Qallupilluit capture Allashua, she escapes by promising to bring her brothers and sisters to the sea creatures. With the help of her mother, father, brothers and sisters, Allashua and her family are able to protect one another from the Qallupilluit.

 WITS Connection: Talk it out, Seek help.

For the WITS Lesson Plan, Click Here: A Promise Is A Promise

Learning Outcomes

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Questions and Activities


  • Learn more about the origins of the story and the inspiration for its characters at the Robert Munsch website.
  • Teach students about Nunavut, Canada’s newest territory. Point it out on a map of Canada and distribute the Nunavut Map handout.
  • Learn more about the Inuktitut language. Distribute the Inuktitut Language handout to students and go through it with children to learn more about the language spoken by Inuit people.


  1. Look at the cover. Based on the clothing you see the girl wearing, where do you think the story takes place?
  2. What is the girl doing on the cover of the book?
  3. What can you do on ice?
  4. What is dangerous about ice?
  5. What is a promise?
  6. What does it mean to break a promise?
  7. What do you think the girl will need to seek help about?


  1. What promise was broken in the story? Allashua promised to go to the lake and not the ocean to fish.
  2. What happened after the promise was broken? The Qallupilluit tried to drag her into the ocean. Allashua made a promise to return with her brothers and sisters.
  3. How do you think Allashua felt when she talked it out with her parents?She felt less afraid and more relieved and hopeful.
  4. What three important details did Allashua admit to her parents? She went to the ocean, she called the Qallupilluit nasty names and she promised the Qallupilluit she would return with her brothers and sisters back to ocean.
  5. How did Allashua’s parents help her keep her promise? Her mother distracted the Qallupilluit with a dance.
  6. Do you think Allashua could have fixed this problem on her own? She could not do this without getting hurt or possibly hurting her brothers and sisters.
  7. What does Allashua learn about promises? Sometimes you need help to keep a promise.
  8. Why would parents tell their children that monsters live under the ice? They said this to protect them from the cracks in the ice.
  9. Do monsters really live under the ice?


  • Illustrate the behaviour of cracked ice using two pieces of tissue paper approximately 50 x 68 cm (20 x 27 in). Use scissors to make a single cut in the middle of one paper. Ask two volunteers to hold the piece without the tear and then place something small and relatively heavy (such as a stapler) in the middle of the paper. Next ask two volunteers to gently hold the tissue paper with the tear so that the tear is barely visible. Place the same object on the paper and watch the object fall.
  • Have students draw pictures of the creatures that live below and above the ice.
  • Compare the Qallupilluit with other mythical creatures such as unicorns, gryphons, Pegasus, the sphinx and faeries. Ask students to create their own mythical creatures through drawings or sculpture and explain the creature’s supernatural powers and what it likes to eat.
  • Have students make finger puppets to retell the story.
  • Sometimes when we are in danger we have to make quick decisions. Allashua escaped from the Qallupilluit by promising them her brothers and sisters which caused an even bigger problem. Ask students to describe a problem they have faced and how they solved it. In small groups, have students role play the problem and three alternative ways to solve the problem. The rest of the class can vote on the best solution.