A poignant, engaging, and illuminating tribute to a vanishing breed.

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THE CANADIAN INUIT DOG

ICON OF CANADA'S NORTH

A dissertation on an extraordinary aboriginal working dog that enabled humans to explore Earth’s polar regions.

Ottawa, Ontario–based librarian Han was introduced to Canadian Inuit dogs by her late daughter, Siu-Ling Han, who lived on Baffin Island, part of Canada’s Arctic archipelago. Siu-Ling bred and raised her dogs according to Inuit traditions and led her hearty sled teams on treks through hundreds of miles along the Arctic tundra. The author began this debut volume as a course assignment at the Institute for Children’s Literature, and it resulted in a full-length, in-depth compendium that explores the importance of this unique dog to traditional Inuit culture. In Inuktitut, the Inuit language, the word for dog is “qimmiq,” and dogs have a special status that’s separate from the rest of the animal kingdom. Aboriginal dogs are domesticated, but they’ve “never been developed by any planned genetic manipulation,” according to an academic paper by Vladimir Beregovoy that Han quotes. The dogs and the ancestors of the Inuit people shared a seminomadic lifestyle for at least 1,000 years; however, the second half of the 20th century brought disease, societal changes, and snowmobiles, which posed challenges to the animals’ survival. For example, cultural misunderstandings resulted in the deaths of thousands of Inuit dogs over multiple decades; wandering canines were killed by officials who saw them as threats to the public. In this book, Han relies heavy on meticulously sourced, secondary research, which is truly comprehensive. However, the use of in-text references sometimes interrupts the flow of the narrative. Similarly, the author’s extensive discussion of scientific nomenclature for various dog breeds is unlikely to interest many casual readers. Serious dog enthusiasts, however, will find that there’s a wealth of information to be found, including a detailed breakdown of external and internal physiological features that distinguish Inuit dogs and enable them to thrive in Arctic environments. Han’s interviews with Inuit elders are especially captivating, as are the many full-color photos that she includes of the dogs and their surroundings.

A poignant, engaging, and illuminating tribute to a vanishing breed.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-943824-42-7

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Revodana Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2019

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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