Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Very Last First Time



Very Last First Time.
Jan Andrews. (1998).  
Aladdin (PIC/RF – All ages).




  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (January 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088899043X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888990433

Here's the blurb:
Very Last First Time by children's author, Jan Andrews, offers an interesting perspective on a traditional Inuit food gathering technique told through the eyes of contemporary Inuit child. Eva Padlyat lives in an Inuit village on the shores of Ungava Bay in northern Quebec. This modern village continues a traditional practice of collecting mussels from the sea bed. On a bright winter day, Eva and her mother go out to the shore and wait until the tide is out. Then Eva's mother walks along the frozen sea until she locates an excellent spot for making a hole in the ice. Far below the receding tide has pulled the sea water away and there is room for an adult or child to walk beneath the ice on the sea floor. This is the first time that Eva will make the walk alone. She enters the hole with some apprehension but the lighted candle reveals a wonderful world beneath the ice. Eva collects enough mussels for her family and in her efforts to make her way out she stumbles. Out goes the light and Eva panics. She manages to overcome her fear and relights the candle, successfully making her way to the entry hole. Here her mother welcomes her efforts. Eva is pleased and dances her joy. Eva realizes her personal achievement and announces to her mother that this is her-- “very last first time-- collecting mussels. The final illustration shows Eva at the dinner table enjoying a steaming plate of mussels. The delightful illustrations capture the wondrous sight Eva sees while she walks along the sea bed. This is an excellent story about the courage of a young girl who attempts something for the first time. All readers can identify with the character and at the same time learn about contemporary Inuit and the properties of water. A great science and Native Studies book for primary students.
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