Very Last First Time

( 1 )

Overview


Eva Padlyat lived in an Inuit village on Ungava Vat in northern Canada. In winter, when people wanted mussels to eat, they searched along the bottom of the seabed. Eva had often walked on the bottom, helping her mother, but today – for the very first time – she was to go down below the thick sea ice herself. Her mother went with her to the shore and out onto the ice. The time was just right. The outgoing tide had pulled the seawater away, leaving only the ice above and the ...
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Overview


Eva Padlyat lived in an Inuit village on Ungava Vat in northern Canada. In winter, when people wanted mussels to eat, they searched along the bottom of the seabed. Eva had often walked on the bottom, helping her mother, but today – for the very first time – she was to go down below the thick sea ice herself. Her mother went with her to the shore and out onto the ice. The time was just right. The outgoing tide had pulled the seawater away, leaving only the ice above and the rock-strewn seabed below.
Eva lowered herself through a hole in the ice and, by candlelight, had soon gathered a pan full of mussels. There was still time to explore, she decided. But she stumbled and her candle went out. She was alone in the darkness, and the tide had turned. When, at the end of her adventure, she is safe with her mother again on top of the ice, she says, "that was my very last first time for walking alone on the bottom of the sea."

When the tide recedes, a young Eskimo girl living in northern Canada, journeys alone for the first time under the ice, walking on the seabed floor to gather mussels.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In search of mussels while the tide is out, an Inuit girl walks alone beneath the ice of the frozen ocean, knowing she will never do it-for the first time-again. Pointillist paintings in purple and yellow emphasize the beauty of her undersea adventure. Ages 5-8. Feb.
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
Eva lives in a village in Canada with her people, the Inuit. In the winter, when the sea is frozen, Eva's people walk under the ice and gather mussels for food. This is the story of Eva's first walk on the bottom of the sea all alone and her feelings of excitement and fear about this venture. There is a very real element of fear in the story when Eva's candles go out and she cannot see her way back to the hole in the ice. This story should be read with children so that this element of fear can be discussed. The illustrations recall crayon drawings by children, in a title that will lend itself to multicultural classroom collections. 1998 (orig.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 Eva Padlyat had often walked on the bottom of the sea with her mother. This extraordinary-sounding feat is routine for the Inuits of Northern Canada, who lower themselves through the thick winter ice at low tide to search for mussels on the ocean floor. It is now time for Eva's first trip under the ice alone. She and her mother pull their sleds across the snow until they find a place to chisel a hole; then Eva carefully lowers herself into the darkness. Lighting a candle, she begins to look for mussels; she then goes exploring. When she hears the tide coming in and drops her candle, she feels panicky, but she soon finds her matches and another candle to light her way back to the ice hole. On the surface of the ice once again, Eva sums up her adventure as her ``very last first time'' for walking alone on the ocean floor. This look at Eskimo life today combines the ancient custom of collecting mussels with modern features such as airplanes and snowmobiles. The story is well-developed, with just the right amount of suspense. The watercolor illustrations are somewhat uneven in quality; the colors in the land scenes are rather garish, and some figures are awkwardly proportioned. The eerie shades of the ocean floor are quite effective, however, and the strange seascapes lend an air of unreality. Very Last First Time is an intriguing view of a little-known way of life. Lucy Young Clem, Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Lib . , Ind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888990433
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 11/18/2002
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 398,879
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    Reading this story was truly a once in a lifetime experience. When I read this story with my 3rd grade students, I told them... 'I feel sad that I have not known this story for my entire life.' In 33 years of teaching I have never had this response to a story. It is a beautiful story of life.

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