Very Last First Time

Jan Andrews

Published by Groundwood Books, 2003
ISBN 10: 088899043X / ISBN 13: 9780888990433
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Synopsis: Eva Padlyat lived in an Inuit village on Ungava Vat in northern Canada. In winter, when people wanted mussels to eat, they searched along the bottom of the seabed. Eva had often walked on the bottom, helping her mother, but today – for the very first time – she was to go down below the thick sea ice herself. Her mother went with her to the shore and out onto the ice. The time was just right. The outgoing tide had pulled the seawater away, leaving only the ice above and the rock-strewn seabed below.
Eva lowered herself through a hole in the ice and, by candlelight, had soon gathered a pan full of mussels. There was still time to explore, she decided. But she stumbled and her candle went out. She was alone in the darkness, and the tide had turned. When, at the end of her adventure, she is safe with her mother again on top of the ice, she says, "that was my very last first time for walking alone on the bottom of the sea."

From School Library Journal: Kindergarten-Grade 3 Eva Padlyat had often walked on the bottom of the sea with her mother. This extraordinary-sounding feat is routine for the Inuits of Northern Canada, who lower themselves through the thick winter ice at low tide to search for mussels on the ocean floor. It is now time for Eva's first trip under the ice alone. She and her mother pull their sleds across the snow until they find a place to chisel a hole; then Eva carefully lowers herself into the darkness. Lighting a candle, she begins to look for mussels; she then goes exploring. When she hears the tide coming in and drops her candle, she feels panicky, but she soon finds her matches and another candle to light her way back to the ice hole. On the surface of the ice once again, Eva sums up her adventure as her "very last first time" for walking alone on the ocean floor. This look at Eskimo life today combines the ancient custom of collecting mussels with modern features such as airplanes and snowmobiles. The story is well-developed, with just the right amount of suspense. The watercolor illustrations are somewhat uneven in quality; the colors in the land scenes are rather garish, and some figures are awkwardly proportioned. The eerie shades of the ocean floor are quite effective, however, and the strange seascapes lend an air of unreality. Very Last First Time is an intriguing view of a little-known way of life. Lucy Young Clem, Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Lib . , Ind.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Title: Very Last First Time
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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