TO SURVIVE WE MUST BE CLEVER by Gertrude E. Finney

TO SURVIVE WE MUST BE CLEVER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There is almost as much anthropological detail as fiction in this story about a sixteen year old Aleut, but it is worth reading on either count. The Aleuts are a mixture of Eskimo, Indian and white races, and their way of life as it was around 1900 is described here, (the material is based on information provided by Dr. William S. Laughlin, an anthropologist who has done research on the area). The hero is Kaa-Ling-a, an exceptionally large, strong, capable boy who has given evidence of unusual skill at the hunting/seafaring activities his people depend on in spite of his youth. Inadvertently he is trapped in a mummy cave, which were much dreaded by the Aleuts. He overcomes the stigma, however, by surviving, by continually proving his bravery and abilities, and when his harpoon was the one that killed a whale, he was awarded the revered title of top whaler. The Aleuts are very carefully described, even in ways which are usually avoided in juvenile books (for instance: a girl's first menstruation; how animals are butchered and each part used) but these details are handled as integral to the overall portrayal of the people. It's a very readable book, and it succeeds in making a special group of people quite real and understandable.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1966
Publisher: McKay