Winter -- Sled Dogs and Sled Dog Races

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs.  THE LAMP, THE ICE, AND THE BOAT CALLED FISH:
    BASED ON A TRUE STORY.   Illus by Beth Krommes.  Boston:  Houghton, 2001. 48p.
    0-618-00341-X; hb., $15.00   99-35303   Gr. 1-4   919.804

     This is a handsome nonfiction book.  The scratchboard illustrations are an excellent match for a survival story that is based on a Canadian Arctic Expedition boat that became stuck in the ice for eight months in 1913.  Besides the main story, there is an Author’s Note that includes the information that an Inupaiq family did bring a seal oil lamp with them.  There is a bibliography, list of passengers, crew, and animals as well as photos of the Inupiaq family and other survivors.  Another aid to understanding is the phonetic spelling of words within the text.  A prose poem called “The Seal Oil Lamp” appears in italics before and after the main text of the book which is poetically arranged.
    The boat was the Karluk which means fish in Aleutian.  The expedition included the captain, an Inupiaiq family, scientists, crew, a black cat, and forty sled dogs.  The boat was stuck on an ice floe for several months until the ship was  abandoned before it sank into the sea.  Eventually the captain and Kataktovik walked 200 miles across the ice to Siberia to get help.  The adventures of those left behind provides the body of the book.
    The story unfolds with just enough drama to keep the interest of readers who will also be fascinated with the illustrations.  In areas where there are sled dog races, this title will we a welcome addition to those bibliographies.   School and public libraries should purchase this perfectly crafted nonfiction picture book regardless of the climate in which they live.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as school library media specialist

Miller, Debbie S.  THE GREAT SERUM RACE: BLAZING THE IDITAROD TRAIL.
    Illus by Jon Van Zyle.  New York: Walker, 2002.  40p.  0-8027-8811-4; hb.,  $16.95
    0-8027-8812-2; lib.bdg., $17.85       Gr.  1-6+    798.8

    The acrylic illustrations help readers to understand what happened when relay teams of sled dog teams took antitoxin serum from Anchorage to Nome so Dr. Welch  could save the community from a diphtheria epidemic.  The serum started out by train and then 20 teams using 160 dogs took the serum over 674 miles in a blizzard. A chart lists the twenty mushers, their relay segments, and the distances they covered.  The introduction discusses Togo, the favorite dog of Leonhard Seppala and an afterword that discusses how Balto received the most attention of all the sled dogs and what eventually happened to Seppala’s teams.  There is also a list of selected sources and information about the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that commemorates the 1925 serum run and the web address for the race.  Maps appear on the end papers and the double spread title pages.   This book is an essential purchase for libraries in Alaska and other states that have sled dog races, for classes that study states, and others that follow the current race that is held in March.  This is also a general purchase for school and public libraries to show stamina, endurance, and an important contribution of dogs.
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, Michigan
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

Wilcox, Charlotte.  THE SIBERIAN HUSKY.  Illus. with photos.  Learning about Dogs Series.
    Mankato, MN:  Capstone High/Low, 1999.  48p. 0-7368-007-7, hb. $14.25. 98-003564
    Gr. 2+     636.7

     Wilcox provides a wealth of information about Siberian Huskies: physical description; development of the breed; role in the Diphtheria serum run from Anchorage to Nome on the Iditarod Trail;  sled dog racing including the Iditarod; ownership tips; and a glossary of terms.  A bibliography, useful addresses, and Internet sites (including the John
Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in MN) are helpful additions.  The quick facts about dogs appears in all books in this series.  Libraries should plan to purchase as many of the books in this series as they can afford but this particular title is an essential purchase for Upper Peninsula libraries that are located near the UP 200 and Midnight Run Sled Dog
Championship race.
     Mary Ann Paulin;  Director, Superiorland Preview Center
     32 years as a school library media specialist

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