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Ice Whale
ISBN: 9780803737457
Author: George, Jean Craighead/ Hendrix, John (ILT)
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Published: April 2014
Retail: $17.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 84%
Binding Type: Hardcover
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Annotation: In 1848 in Barrow, Alaska, a young Eskimo boy witnesses a rare sight—the birth of a bowhead, or ice whale, that he calls Siku. But when he unwittingly guides Yankee whalers to a pod of bowhead whales, all the whales are killed. For this act, the boy receives a curse of banishment. Through the generations, this curse is handed down. Siku, the ice whale, returns year after year, in reality and dreams, to haunt each descendant. The curse is finally broken when a daughter recognizes and saves the whale, and he in turn saves her. Told in alternating voices, both human and whale, Jean Craighead George’s last novel is an ambitious and touching take on the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the earth they depend on.
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure | Survival Stories
- Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Marine Life
- Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States
Library of Congress Subjects:
Yupik Eskimos; Juvenile fiction.
Yupik Eskimos; Fiction.
Eskimos; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2013034090
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Target Grade: 4-6
Grade level: 4-6
Physical Information: 1.00" H x 100.00" L x 5.75" W
Bargain Category: Upper Elementary, Middle School, Animals, Action & Adventure
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>Jean Craighead George (1919 - 2012) was the author of more than 100 beloved books for young people, including the Newbery Medal winning Julie of the Wolves and the Newbery Honor winning My Side of the Mountain. She was a lifetime naturalist.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Fall)
In 1858, Yup'ik Eskimo Toozak unwittingly tells American whalers where they can spear bowhead whales, bringing down a curse on his family and forcing Toozak and his progeny to protect one whale throughout its approximately two-hundred-year lifespan. George blends the whale's sea life with Toozak's descendants' lives on land. Coincidences mar the account, but the resurrection of the whale population is nicely told.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2014 May #1)

George returns to the northern Alaska setting of her Newbery-winning Julie of the Wolves in this expansive story, which the author's children, Twig George and Craig George, completed after her 2012 death. Spanning two centuries—from 1848 to 2048—the novel interlaces the stories and perspectives of a family of Yankee whaling captains; generations of an Yup'ik clan cursed after one of them inadvertently discloses the location of a pod of whales to greedy whalers; and Siku, a bowhead whale that shares a deep bond with the tribe. While the first narrative track sheds intriguing (and sobering) light on whaling strategies and history, the latter two are emotionally involving and expose the interconnectedness of humans and whales with eloquence and insight. In one of many hard-hitting moments, Siku's "grief was heard through the ocean" after he sees his mother killed by a harpoon. Jean Craighead George's knowledge of and talent for depicting the natural world are in full evidence in this immersive epic that combines themes of conservation and native mysticism. A powerful finale for the author and a fine tribute to her literary legacy. Ages 9–11. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by PW Annex Reviews (Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews)

George returns to the northern Alaska setting of her Newbery-winning Julie of the Wolves in this expansive story, which the author's children, Twig George and Craig George, completed after her 2012 death. Spanning two centuries—from 1848 to 2048—the novel interlaces the stories and perspectives of a family of Yankee whaling captains; generations of an Yup'ik clan cursed after one of them inadvertently discloses the location of a pod of whales to greedy whalers; and Siku, a bowhead whale that shares a deep bond with the tribe. While the first narrative track sheds intriguing (and sobering) light on whaling strategies and history, the latter two are emotionally involving and expose the interconnectedness of humans and whales with eloquence and insight. In one of many hard-hitting moments, Siku's "grief was heard through the ocean" after he sees his mother killed by a harpoon. Jean Craighead George's knowledge of and talent for depicting the natural world are in full evidence in this immersive epic that combines themes of conservation and native mysticism. A powerful finale for the author and a fine tribute to her literary legacy. Ages 9–11. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 May)

Gr 4–6—A final, posthumous nature story from the Newbery Award winner. This dreamy, epic tale entwines the life of Siku, a bowhead (or ice) whale of the Arctic Ocean, with the lives of several generations of two human families, the Toozaks and the Boyds. Toozak the first, who witnessed Siku's birth, is sworn to protect the great whale, a mission that influences the fate of his family from 1848 through a speculative 2048. Chapters alternate the points of view among members of both families, and of Siku himself, whose name and other whale sounds are rendered in transcribed vibrations. The writing, completed with the help of George's children Craig and Twig, is uneven and sometimes a bit stilted—only one or two characters fully realized. The nature writing fares better, especially the whale's eye-view narrative and the detailed descriptions of underwater travel and sound. Ice Whale is not the author's finest work, but it's a bold, wistful, and heartfelt coda to a distinguished career.—Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library

[Page 108]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.