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Kumak's Fish: A Tall Tale from the Far North Paperback – April 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3–Declaring that it's a "Good day for fish," a man and his family set off for a day of ice fishing, with Kumak carrying Uncle Aglu's "amazing hooking stick." While others begin catching fish, Kumak's line remains quiet. Suddenly there's a twitch on it and he begins to pull. His strength alone is not enough to bring the great fish through the hole in the ice and he must ask his wife for assistance, and then the remainder of his family. Still, their combined might is not enough to catch the mighty fish and fellow villagers join in the struggle. While the maxim traditionally says, "It takes a village to raise a child," in this case, it takes a village to catch a fish. Joyful watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations capture the icy although not colorless landscape and most particularly the expressive faces of the Iñupiat villagers. Even the animals wear expressions filled with humor and playfulness. This delightful blend of art and text brings the rich traditions and culture of the peoples of the Far North to life. A wonderful supplement to units on Alaska and the Arctic, this title surpasses mere curriculum support and stands alone as gifted storytelling.–Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. Like Kumak's House (2002), this original comic tall tale about an Inupiat (Eskimo) family in the Arctic combines folklore and farce with some realistic detail of the setting and community. It's "a good day for fish," so Kumak loads his big family onto his sled with all their fishing gear. They dig their fishing holes, and everyone except Kumak catches something. But then, with Uncle Aglu's amazing hooking stick, Kumak feels a pull so big that he nearly falls into the hole. His family members line up behind him to help him drag in what's on his line. A few passersby stop to help, and finally, the whole village. Bania spent two decades in the Arctic, and her playful line-and-watercolor scenes show the people fishing on the bright, icy spring morning, pulling together across the pages and laughing. The tug of war is hilarious, and the catch is a great surprise. Both words and pictures celebrate cooperation, sharing, and humor. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882405845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882405841
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 0.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,550,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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See all 6 customer reviews
They appreciated the dialogue and repetition of numerous phrases.
Carol H. Sibley
It's a big part of the curriculum now and I think literature is a great way to teach students about cultures.
Jenn
When the entire village bands together, it's a great day for fish!
Stefanie Freele

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carol H. Sibley on June 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
On a spring day in the Alaskan Arctic, Kumak announces "Good day for fish" and packs his family, along with Uncle Aglu's "amazing hooking stick" into their dogsled for a day of ice fishing on the nearby lake. This Iñupiat variant of the traditional tale of the enormous turnip demonstrates that it takes a village to catch a fish. An endnote explains Bania's inspiration for her tall tale.

Bania's watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations, depicting the icy Arctic setting, provide readers with authentic details of the Iñupiat culture and show the joyfulness of the characters.

Two-year-olds through nine-year-olds enjoyed this book and were captivated by Kumak. They appreciated the dialogue and repetition of numerous phrases. The ending especially intrigued the children.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BookLovingMama on June 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My son wanted a book on eskimos...this was the best find I could have hoped for as Kumak and his village spend their day fishing and helping one another as only a fishing village can do. My son celebrates the victory as he jumps up and down on the final page yelling, "Hurray for Kumak!" We even had to go out and buy fishing poles so he could demonstrate just how exactly the amazing fishing stick twitches "this way" and "that way." A read-aloud that is great fun and teaches children about families, communities and other parts of our globe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stefanie Freele on May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Kumak's Fish by Michael Bania is hilarious, whimsical, and clever. The artwork is lively. The language fresh. Even after twenty readings, children still lean forward in suspense anticipating the joyous ending. Not just a fun story to read, but one that shows the significance of community. When the entire village bands together, it's a great day for fish!
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