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CALL ME AHNIGHITO by Pam Conrad

CALL ME AHNIGHITO

By Pam Conrad (Author) , Richard Egielski (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: May 30th, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-023322-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

Designated fiction by LC, this account of the peregrinations of a Greenland meteorite is based on fact. Robert Peary found three meteorites on an early expedition, shipped them back to New York, and sold them to the American Museum of Natural History. In a highly anthropomorphized first-person treatment, Conrad endows the huge extraterrestrial with sensation and emotion (to be fair, so did Peary in Northward Over the Great Ice, 1898) and tells the story so completely from its point of view that questions go unanswered: What is the meteorite made of?. Why did the "snow people" (the local Inuit) chip pieces from it over hundreds of years? Why did the "new people" (Peary's expedition) labor so mightily over it? What does the name "Ahnighito" mean? Why did the meteorite interfere with the ship's compass? Etcetera. The fuller story of what Ahnighito meant to the Inuit, to Peary, and to the museum is simply not here. Highly textured illustrations feature a somber Arctic palette of grays, browns, and an intense cobalt blue. The bustling New York City scenes are reminiscent of Egielski's work in Yorinks's Oh, Brother (1989). Children may like the pictures better than the story; its appeal is limited by Conrad's choice of narrator. (Picture book. 6-9)