Monday, April 13, 2009
The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish
The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish Jacqueline Briggs Martin
illustrated by Beth Krommes Genre:
Historical Fiction/Illustrator Study
My Rating: 4 our of 5
The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish retells the true story of a1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition an a boat called Fish that became stuck in the Arctic ice. Among the people on board were Captain Bartlett and his crew, an explorer named Stefansson and accompanying scientists, a cat, forty sled dogs, Inupiaq hunters and an Inupiaq family consisting of two small girls and their parents. As the ship becomes one with the ice in the freezing Actic conditions, Stefansson and his crew leave the ship in an attempt to hunt caribou, and they never return. Captain Bartlett now becomes the leader, and together the ship's crew and Inupiaq family struggle for survival. Eight months pass, and just as things are looking bleak, they spot a ship in the distance and are rescued.
This story was a very enjoyable and inspiring read. I love the details that Martin includes, such as arctic wildlife and habitat as well as about the Inupiat people themselves and think students will find them enjoyable as well. I also really liked the poetic form Martin uses to recount the tale; the language is intriguing and pulls the reader into the story. Again, illustrator Beth Kromme's scratchboard illustrations are beautifully crafted. Ice, artifacts and characters are delineated in bold black, and then muted with crosshatching and a muted palette of browns and blues. Perhaps the most endearing detail of the story is the effort to keep the cat and the dogs alive. It shows the love and compassion that is kept alive in a dire situation. The combination of art and narration create a story that make a perfect read aloud for the primary grades.