The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish

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9780618003419: The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish
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In 1913, a boat named Karluk, Aleutian for fish,” part of the Canadian Arctic Expedition, became stuck in the Arctic ice. On board were a captain and crew, scientists and explorers, a cat, forty sled dogs, Inupiaq hunters, and an Inupiaq family with two small girls. Even with the Inupiaq and their skills of hunting and sewing, even with the family’s care and wisdom, even with the compassion and courage of their captain, odds for survival in the cold, dark Arctic seem against the passengers of the Karluk.
Here is a riveting, unforgettable story, poetically told and exquisitely illustrated with rounded scratchboard art that captures the strength and grace of Inupiaq culture. Details of centuries-old crafts and skills of sewing boots from caribou legs and ugruk skin, of quickly cutting snow houses, of wearing wooden goggles to ward off snowblindness will enrich modern imaginations. And by the story’s end, listeners will know something of the way of life in the high north, something of the song of the place, the wide sky, the sound of the wind, the ptarmigan.

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About the Author:

Jacqueline Briggs Martin is the author of Snowflake Bentley, winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal, and The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish, an ALA Notable Book, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book, Riverbank Review Finalist, Notable Social Studies Trade book and winner of The Golden Kite Award for Illustration. She grew up on a farm in Maine much like the one in this story. She lives in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

From Publishers Weekly:

The author merges fact and conjecture with mixed results in this dense account of the 1913 expedition of a ship named the Karluk (the Aleutian word for "fish"). The vessel sailed north from British Columbia toward the Arctic Circle and stopped at Alaska's Point Barrow to pick up an I?upiaq family. The expedition's mission, "to study the plants and people in the high north," takes a backseat when the Karluk becomes locked in ice and eventually sinksAsurvival becomes the crew's goal. Unlike Snow Bentley, in which Martin neatly balanced the historical framework with telling anecdotes, here details of the expedition outweigh the human storyAdespite some interesting facts (e.g., "Qiruk, the mother, could look at a man,/ cut a fur skin with her round-bladed ulu, and sew a pair of pants/ that would fit him exactly"). Though the author guesses about how various family members feel while awaiting rescue (she writes about one daughter, "Maybe she looked into the seal oil lamp and heard/ her grandmother singing the song of home./ And she did not feel so lonely"), Martin does not speculate about why the I?upiaq family leaves their grandmother and their home to travel by sea with strangers. Despite scattered moments of suspense and Krommes's (Grandmother Winter) engaging, earth-toned scratchboard art, youngsters are apt to find this journey laborious and slow moving. Ages 6-up. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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