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
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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 RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved