Juvenile Literature Edward Field Magic Words

ISBN 13: 9780152014988

Magic Words

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9780152014988: Magic Words

A collection of poems based on songs and stories gathered by Knud Rasmussen on the Fifth Thule Expedition, which recorded Inuit legends about the universe and its creation.

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Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. Field has written a suite of poems based on the songs and stories of the Netsilik Inuit, collected in the first quarter of this century by Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen in his travels above the Arctic Circle. Field must have lived inside those tales, because the poems on these pages ring both inevitable and mysterious: Of the earth, we learn "Children once grew / out of the ground / just as flowers do" and that thunder and lightning come from two abandoned siblings. We know about animals from a wise man who knew the trick of being a musk ox: "How warm it was in the middle of the big lowing herds / huddled together." A bear tale with echoes of both Goldilocks and Jonah has a wise one being swallowed whole and carving a door in the bear's belly: "That's the way it goes: Monster one minute, food the next." Vitale's illustrations are fabulous in the most root sense of the word. He paints in oils on bark, on wood, on stones, often set on snowlike backgrounds. He has clearly absorbed much of Inuit art's vocabulary, but there are also echoes of Japanese masks, Northwest coast iconography, and even Picasso. His passionate achievement, however, forges those influences into an art that both supports and reflects the perfect simplicity of the text. GraceAnne A. DeCandido

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Edward Field
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers (1998)
ISBN 10: 0152014985 ISBN 13: 9780152014988
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Edward Field, Stefano Vitale (Illustrator)
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