cover image Nessa's Fish

Nessa's Fish

Nancy Luenn. Atheneum Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31477-3

Like Waldman's Bring Back the Deer , which this book greatly resembles in style, Nessa's Fish tells of a girl's vigil over her sick grandmother in the Arctic. Nessa saves both her grandmother and the fish they have caught for the family from a fox, a pack of wolves and a polar bear, by remembering the lessons about animals that her grandfather has taught her. Although the book jacket claims the story is ``an authentic portrayal of life on the Arctic tundra,'' it seems unlikely that in the real world a girl could frighten away a hungry polar bear by singing a song to make it ``feel foolish,'' or by making herself look like a wolf and growling ``These are OUR fish'' she could persuade a large wolf to lower his tail and lead his pack away. Still, as a fantasy story about Nessa's impudent courage, with stunningly designed illustrations, the book will appeal to young readers with an affinity for nature. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)