Kumak's Fish

Bloggers of the world, here's some free advice for you: When trying to break a reviewing cold streak (in reference to the material selected, not the act of reviewing itself, since I am the world's foremost kid book rater), don't choose a story about life in Inupiat Alaska. 

*Author Michael Bania (a woman) took something from her own experience and tweaked it just enough to make it feel like a yarn that could be passed down from generation to generation to teach kids about teamwork both within the family and in the community -- although the crowning moment was rather far-fetched  
*The birds-eye image of the entire village arranged in a circular line was not only cool for what it depicted but also because it changed the visual perspective just long enough to tickle your medulla oblongota
*Exposes your family to some interesting Eskimo items that they probably will never come in contact with

*The whole idea of the fishes doing the same thing as the people in the world's most odd tug-of-war match was kind of a letdown compared to where your mind originally takes you (a really big single fish pulling on the line) -- as is the idea that, upon losing, every single one of these fish would pop out of a small hole in the ice 
*It might be culturally accurate in the region she calls home, but for a female author to name the male lead and then have him refer to his wife as "Wife" seems oddly sexist for the intended audience 
*Either the uncle should have had a more prominent role or a less prominent one, but I found his interjection into the story superfluous the way it was written

Of the six books I checked out today, this one was the biggest gamble.  I spent a few extra seconds thumbing through it (to make sure it wasn't too advanced for my son), and posited that KF might have some potential.  Naturally, my curiosity led me to make this the first book I read when we got home.  Boy was I disappointed.  It's not bad, just bland.  The messages and diversity earn it some deserved respect, but most of this goodwill expires about as fast as a fish pulled onshore.  Credit Bania for expanding the locale lineup for children's books to include the Kenai Peninsula, but let your local library be the one that outlays the credit to purchase it

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