Saturday, August 6, 2011

Children's Book Review: Ootah's Lucky Day

Name of Book: Ootah's Lucky Day
Author / Illustrator: Written by Peggy Parish and Illustrated by Mamoru Funai
What It's All About: Ootah wants to go hunting with the men to help save his starving village but his father tells him he is too young.  Ootah must do something because the village has nothing to eat and no way to keep warm.  He decides that he can hunt on his own and takes his own little dogsled out.  Across the ice he sees something poke its nose out of the ice.  It is a walrus! Ootah prepares his spear and kills the walrus.  But now there is a problem.  The walrus is so large that he cannot get it onto his sled.  Ootah braves the icy landscape, a polar bear, and hunting on his own to get the walrus back to his people so they can have food and fires.  When the hunters return without anything and find that Ootah has saved the village, Ootah's father gratefully tells Ootah he can hunt with the men.
My Favorite Bit: I liked this story when I was young and I think it was the idea that a child could save his people by being brave.  I like the feel of this story despite its icy backdrop. 

Suitable Age For Reading It To: I think I'd say this was best for around five and up.  The polar bear as you can see above is scary and the walrus itself is pretty intense.  Plus, he kills the walrus and although it's for a good cause, he still kills it.  A little older child will get this better.
Go Get It: Ootah's Lucky Day on Amazon US or you can check Alibris, they have good books as well.
A Little About the Author / Illustrator: Peggy Parish (1927-1988) was born in South Carolina and is the creator of the story series Amelia Bedelia.  The series continues after her sudden death from an aneurysm by her nephew.  She taught school kids and was involved with education even after becoming a children's author.

In discussing her ideas about education she said, “Children’s rights are taken away from them when they enter school. What I try to show teachers is that all the skills needed to read can be taught outside of textbooks. Today’s children are not going to read what they are not interested in. And if a positive attitude toward reading is not developed during the first three years of school, it is virtually impossible to develop it later.”

Peggy Parish

 Mamoru Funai cannot be located easily so if you have any info on this illustrator, I'd love to hear it.

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