The Seal Oil Lamp: Adapted from an Eskimo Folktale and Illustrated with Wood Engravings

Dale DeArmond, Author Sierra Club Books for Children $13.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-17786-3
Firmly grounded in Eskimo custom, ritual and lore, DeArmond's story tells of a couple who must leave their blind son to die, because custom dictates that fate for those who will not, as adults, be able to take care of themselves. The boy, Alugua, is seven when his parents leave him with little food and seal oil, but because of a former kindness paid by the boy to her family, Mouse Woman brings him new supplies. Through the long season, she teaches Alugua stories, and a little song that will bring animals to him so that he will be able to ``hunt'' them. He promises to honor the animals who offer themselves to him, and when he is accepted back into his family, he becomes a great man of the village for his hunting skill. Some passages of this very poignant story are so wrenchingly sad that readers will be tempted to hurry ahead, but both the telling and the impressive wood engravings are worth lingering over. As with all the best folktales, this will resonate with listeners and readers, and offers insights into a less-than-familiar aspect of American culture. Ages 5-9. (September)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-87156-858-8
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