Call Me Ahnighito

Overview

"In 1894, Robert Peary's explorers discovered a car-sized meteorite in Greenland and hauled it off to New York's [American Museum of Natural History]. An intriguing story if conventionally told, Conrad makes it unforgettable by choosing the meteorite itself to be the narrator. [A] wonderfully fresh, energetic tale [with art that captures] the era's look and flavor expertly."--SLJ.

Best Books of 1995 (SLJ)
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Overview

"In 1894, Robert Peary's explorers discovered a car-sized meteorite in Greenland and hauled it off to New York's [American Museum of Natural History]. An intriguing story if conventionally told, Conrad makes it unforgettable by choosing the meteorite itself to be the narrator. [A] wonderfully fresh, energetic tale [with art that captures] the era's look and flavor expertly."--SLJ.

Best Books of 1995 (SLJ)
"A Few Good Books 1995" (Book Links)
1996 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts (NCTE)

A huge meteorite describes how it lay half-buried in Greenland for centuries until it is finally excavated by members of a Peary expedition and begins a new journey.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Rae Valabek
Factual information is told in a most unusual way. A meteorite was brought to New York in 1897 by Robert E. Perry, who was the first person to reach the North Pole. The meteorite was found buried in Greenland. These and other facts are related as if the meteorite is telling the story. The meteorite has feelings and thoughts as well as a point of view. The book is reminiscent of the style of Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Fir Tree. The illustrations by Caldecott Medal winner (1987) Richard Egielski are colorful and descriptive, and they successfully help to tell the story.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Call Me Ahnighito is an enchanting first person story told by the meteorite of its life from Greenland to NYC. "They call me Ahnighito [Ah-na-HEET-o]. And they tell me I am made of star stuff, but I don't remember my birth." In a lyrical style, Conrad makes us believe in the persona of this heavenly rock. Discovered by the Peary Expedition, and named by Peary's 4-year-old daughter, it was shipped to NYC in 1897. It now resides in the American Museum of Natural History. Scenes of the desolate Arctic landscape contrast dramatically with the crowed city streets.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-2In 1894, Robert E. Peary's team of explorers discovered a car-sized metallic meteorite in Greenland and, after several aborted efforts, hauled it off to New York City. This would be an intriguing story even if conventionally told, but Conrad makes it unforgettable by choosing the meteorite itself to be the narrator. Named by Peary's young daughter (supposedly after her Inuit nanny), Ahnighito joyfully describes how lonely centuries of isolation come at last to an end as it is levered out of the ice, slowly dragged aboard ship, left to languish for years on a dock in the Brooklyn Navy Yards, then trucked across Manhattan to the American Museum of Natural History, where it rests today in proud splendor. Egielski's stubby-limbed workers strain and grimace with the effort of moving the great lump; their period dress and the cityscape through which they move capture the era's look and flavor expertly. For an object whose lifespan can be measured in millions of years, Ahnighito's point of view seems rather confined, but this wonderfully fresh, energetic tale will still have wide appeal.John Peters, New York Public Library
Carolyn Phelan
In a story based on fact, a meteorite lands in Greenland, where it sits for centuries, known only to the people of the Arctic. In 1894 the Peary expedition finds the rock and digs it out of the ground. Later a ship transports it to New York, where it sits on a dock for seven years until it is hauled to the American Museum of Natural History for display. In what can only be described as an odd (and not terribly successful) choice of voice, the story is told in first person from the point of view of the meteorite. If readers can get past the anthropomorphism ("I lay open, exposed, and so alone" ), this does offer interesting details of how the rock was extracted from the ground and its subsequent moves. The rock also communicates its fear of tumbling into the sea, its satisfaction at being christened Ahnighito, and its boredom while sitting on the dock. Well-composed paintings, full of lively depictions of the people and places around Ahnighito, stretch across wide double-page spreads. Throughout the book, Egielski achieves subtle and exceptionally beautiful effects with color, texture, and light. An unusual resource for classroom units on astronomy, geology, or the Arctic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060233228
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: AD690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Pam Conrad wrote many award-winning books for children, including the immensely popular The Tub People and The Tub Grandfather, both illustrated by Richard Egielski. She is also the author of a number of critically acclaimed novels, including Prairie Songs, a 1986 ALA Best Children's Book of the Year and a 1985 ALA Golden Kite Honor Book, and Stonewords, winner of the 1991 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery.

Richard Egielski is the Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator of Hey, Al and many other books for children, including the Tub People series by Pam Conrad. He is also the author and illustrator of Buz and Jazper, both New York Times Best Illustrated Books, Three Magic Balls, and The Gingerbread Boy. Mr. Egielski lives in Milford, New Jersey, with his wife and son.

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