Monday, December 14, 2020

Review - Baseball Bats for Christmas

Baseball Bats for Christmas

by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak
illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka
Date: 1990
Publisher: Annick Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: library

Never having seen trees, the children in Repulse Bay decide that the funny things delivered to them one year for Christmas must actually be for making baseball bats.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book has apparently been in print for 30 years now. As a Christmas story, it seems a bit weak and perhaps sanitized (the people of Repulse Bay fawning over their priest is uncomfortable, given our current knowledge of the damage done by the Church with their residential schools). But it does offer a glimpse into life in the 1950s for Inuit children.

Arvaarluk and his friends eagerly await Christmas, where they celebrate by giving each other their favourite possessions. Arvaarluk is given a rubber ball, and the children all play a makeshift sort of baseball... at least, when they can find a stick for a bat. But trees don't grow in the Arctic! One year, six trees are delivered to Repulse Bay, and the kids decide that their intended purpose is baseball bats.

The appealing illustrations are colourful, shattering the notion that the Arctic is painted only in shades of white. The book is a little heavy on the text, so younger readers might want to have someone read it with them (or to them).

Overall, this is a charming book that offers a glimpse into Inuit life in 1955.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.33 out of 5

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