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KITAQ GOES ICE FISHING by Margaret Nicolai


by Margaret Nicolai & illustrated by David Rubin

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-88240-504-7

A descriptive narrative of a young Yup’ik boy’s initiation rite—ice fishing with his grandfather for the first time. Kitaq’s excitement swells with the pancakes in his stomach as he proudly dresses himself in layers to go ice fishing. “Apa, I am big now,” he tells his grandfather, and assures him he can, at five, walk a long way in the cold without crying. With a string on a pole dangling in the ice hole and salmon eggs for bait, Kitaq almost instantaneously catches a pike large enough to feed a whole family. The formal patterns of speech give the story a polite, respectful tone, although the instructional voice of the narrator reigns in the suspense of snagging a fish and distances readers from the excitement of Kitaq’s adventure. Overcoming that small weakness is the afterword about Yup’ik life—it’s informative and unexpectedly compelling. Startling reds of clothing and sunsets add warmth to the thick blue wintry scenes of the oil paintings. The look of the short day in the long polar winter comes through, as well as the affection among Kitaq’s family members. (Picture book. 4-7)