Kumak's House: A Tale of the Far North

Overview

At the edge of a great frozen river, Kumak and his family lived in their house by the willows. Though their house was warm and cozy, Kumak was not happy. His wife was not happy. His sons and daughters were not happy. His wife's mother was not happy. "Too small, this house," said Kumak. "I will go to see Aana Lulu. She will know what to do." Set in an Inupiat Eskimo village in the northwest Arctic, KUMAK'S HOUSE is a folktale that conveys a humorous lesson on life with Kumak as the foil. As Kumak treks again and ...

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Overview

At the edge of a great frozen river, Kumak and his family lived in their house by the willows. Though their house was warm and cozy, Kumak was not happy. His wife was not happy. His sons and daughters were not happy. His wife's mother was not happy. "Too small, this house," said Kumak. "I will go to see Aana Lulu. She will know what to do." Set in an Inupiat Eskimo village in the northwest Arctic, KUMAK'S HOUSE is a folktale that conveys a humorous lesson on life with Kumak as the foil. As Kumak treks again and again to elder Aana Lulu for advice, the book's charming illustrations incite laughter and introduce children to traditional Inupiat activities and animals of the Arctic.

Set in an Inupiat village in the northwest Arctic, this retelling of a familiar tale describes how a wise woman helps a complaining Eskimo family realize that they should appreciate the home they have. Includes a note describing the traditional Inupiat activities seen in the story.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This traditional story set in the Arctic is relayed in traditional storytelling fashion, with all the requisite repetition. Children will be able to predict what will happen next and chime in. Information on Eskimo culture is woven into the story. Pastel watercolors emphasize the chaos of the family’s home, and also impart the serenity of their lifestyle. Even the animals look friendly. Illustrations vary in size and shape, keeping the text flowing. Some of the most charming pictures are oval, focusing tightly on the crowded house and its occupants. This delightful story will entertain children as they learn about a different way of life.  --- School Library Journal, January 2003, Susan Pitard, The Book Review, Preschool to Grade 4.

The watercolor-and-ink illustrations capture the humor and setting with expressive characters and a wintry palette of purple, blue, and yellow. Children who are familiar with this tale will delight in this new angle; those unfamiliar are in for a treat.  --- Booklist, Helen Rosenberg, Sept 2002

Publishers Weekly
In an Inuit interpretation of a popular Yiddish folktales, a family complains of cramped accommodations then learns a lesson about being happy with what they have in Kumak's House: A Tale of the Far North by Michael Bania. An author's note explains Inuit customs. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Set in a small Inupiaq (Eskimo) village in Alaska, this joyously silly tale gets increasingly hilarious as the character tries to make more room in his house, but winds up with less and less space. Kumak thinks his home is too small for his large and clamorous family, and visits a village elder to ask for advice. Aana Lulu tells him not to build a bigger house, but to ask Bear, Whale, Porcupine, Caribou and other animals to move in. Adults can see where the story is going, but small children will be too busy laughing at the sight of the caribou in Kumak's bed, or the rabbit sitting like a fur hat on grandmother's head. Bania, who lived above the Arctic Circle for nearly 20 years, illustrates cartoonishly but gets the Alaska stuff just right, from the kuspuk worn by Aana Lulu to the sundog (rainbow) in the winter sky to the warmth of family life in a home that turns out to be just the right size after all. 2002, Alaska Northwest Books/Graphic Arts Publishing,
— Donna Freedman
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-When Kumak complains to the village elder that his home is too small, she advises him to invite rabbits into his house. They soon multiply, and the next illustration shows the family being crowded out of bed by the newcomers. Next, Aana Lulu tells Kumak to invite foxes in, and continues to encourage him to take larger and larger animals into his home. The family is eventually squished in with bears, caribou, otters, and a prickly porcupine. When she suggests that he take in a whale, he reaches the limit of his hospitality and kicks out all of the animals. Suddenly, there is plenty of room for Kumak's family. This traditional story set in the Arctic is relayed in traditional storytelling fashion, with all of the requisite repetition. Children will be able to predict what will happen next and chime in. Information on Eskimo culture is woven into the story. Pastel watercolors emphasize the chaos of the family's home, and also impart the serenity of their lifestyle. Even the animals look friendly. Illustrations vary in size and shape, keeping the text flowing. Some of the most charming pictures are oval, focusing tightly on the crowded house and its occupants. This delightful story will entertain children as they learn about a different way of life.-Susan Marie Pitard, formerly at Weezie Library for Children, Nantucket Atheneum, MA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882405414
  • Publisher: Graphic Arts Books
  • Publication date: 2/5/2002
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,411,423
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.74 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Meet the Author


Bania lived for almost 20 years above the Arctic Circle.
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Read an Excerpt

Kumak's House

A Tale of the Far North
By Michael Bania

Alaska Northwest Books

Copyright © 2002 Michael Bania
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780882405414

"Though their house was warm and cozy, Kumak was not happy."

"His wife was not happy."

"His mother was not happy."

"His sons and daughters were not happy."

"' Too small, this house', said Kumak."

"' I will go see Aana Lulu. She will know what to do. '"

"Anan Lulu was the oldest and wisest elder in the village."



Continues...

Excerpted from Kumak's House by Michael Bania Copyright © 2002 by Michael Bania. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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