cover image Call Me Ahnighito

Call Me Ahnighito

Pam Conrad. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023322-8

As an author's note explains, Ahnighito is the name of the enormous meteorite now housed in New York City's Museum of Natural History, transported there from the North Pole in 1897. Conrad (The Tub People) imagines the thoughts and feelings of Ahnighito from ``her'' arrival on earth to her installation in the museum. As cold years go by at the North Pole, various people take an interest, chipping away at the rock; finally, over a series of winters, members of the Peary expedition haul her to the ocean and heave her onto a ship. Life becomes more interesting as Ahnighito travels to Brooklyn, then across Manhattan to the museum. Conrad vividly evokes the journey with arresting details (e.g., all the ship's compasses pointed only to the meteorite on the journey south). Egielski's familiar art takes on a majestic quality in depicting expanses of snow, and he invests Ahnighito with a powerful beauty. City scenes are robustly populated with the artist's stocky figures, and a sense of jubilation mounts as the meteorite at last finds a home. A note of explanation on meteorities would have been useful, but the book will likely excite readers to seek out more information. Ages 6-9. (May)