The Sea Lion; A Story of Th Sea Cliff People

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eemook, the tribe's crippled spoonmaker, has secretly carved a magnificent spoon-handle, which he shows to his friend Princess Shoola. In a mock fight over the object, the pair angers the spirits of the deep. Soon the Lion of the Sea, disguised as a handsome chieftain, arrives and captivates all the women, including Shoola. The monster makes his true identity known only to Eemook, who uses the spoon-handle's magic power to save the tribe. But the beast has already impregnated all the women save Shoola. Their children, left on the rocks to die, become the sea lions of the coast. Employing evocative images and clever phrases, Kesey demonstrates his customarily keen sense for language that so distinguished One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest . But over-emphasis of Eemook's outcast position within the tribe diverts the reader's attention from the powerful relationship between man and nature that is the crux of the story. Also, allusions to sex and drugs might prove awkward for younger children. Waldman's ( Nessa's Fish ; The Highwayman ) stylized borders and dramatic likenesses add an ornamental feel to the pages of this longer folktale. All ages. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-- Nearly cast into the sea at birth because his mother has died and he is misshapen, young Eemook, lowly spoonmaker for the Sea Cliff People, achieves manhood by piercing the veil of enchantment laid upon his tribe by an evil and powerful spirit. In revealing Eemook, lively and courageous, Kesey also paints some other vivid portraits: fiercely jealous Chief Gawgawnee; Shoola, his daughter, whose friendship with Eemook defies her father's command; and Um-Lalagic, the boy's adoptive grandmother, who makes shadow dances to soothe children and sees truth clearly. Kesey's text is rhythmic and powerful, while Waldman's artwork enhances the sinewy strength of the narrative. Each pair of facing pages is graced by a small illustration. Full palette water-based paintings punctuated with blocks of black cliffs or clouds are contained by frames, or sometimes spring emphatically across the double-spreads. Throughout there are borders with motifs that are thematically unified with the text, and color washes provide a backdrop. Although this tale is told in the tradition of the Northwest Indians rather than coming from their lore, it weaves a powerful spell that leads readers to a magical sense of time and place. --Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Lib . System, Worcester, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140549508
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/1995
  • Pages: 48
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.13 (d)

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