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
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
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
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
Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
32 years as a school library media specialist
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