ESKIMO BOY: Life in an Inupiaq Eskimo Village by Russ Kendall

ESKIMO BOY: Life in an Inupiaq Eskimo Village

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In perceptive, skillfully composed color photos captioned with a brief text, a realistic portrait of seven-year-old Norman and his life year-round. Kendall's outstanding photos are the strength here. Norman is winsomely photogenic; portraits of older family members suggest complex characters and experience: an adult brother is alert but reserved; a sturdy grandmother has a no-nonsense face mellowed by warmly twinkling eyes. The village of Shishmaret (clearly located on a map) is observed in winter's half-light and on a bright day when snow covers the ground and dogs are tethered everywhere, with utilitarian houses clustered together (no igloos). Norman is also shown at school, fishing, and going to the nearest dentist in an airplane. The text is serviceable, though sometimes written down (why not say what Norman's mother is cutting, instead of calling it ""something""?). But a succinct afterword on ""Modern-day Eskimos"" is telling in its description of rapid changes that have left many English-speaking children unable to converse in a common language with their own grandparents. A note on the photos is welcome, especially for its explanation of a time photo of the night sky including an aurora. Less prettified than Keegan's photo essays on Native Americans (Pueblo Boy, 1991); like Aylette Jenness's book about a Yup'ik family (In Two Worlds, 1989, for older children), excellent source material. Pronouncing glossary of 21 Inupiaqu words.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Scholastic