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Very Last First Time
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Very Last First Time

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  101 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Eva, an Inuit girl, lives along Ungava Bay in northern Canada. In the winter, her people search for mussels along the bottom of the seabed. Although Eva has often joined her mother on these searches, today is the very first day she's climbing down through the ice hole by herself. A unique experience for young listeners and an intriguing introduction to another culture.--Bu ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published April 1st 1986)
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Barb Middleton
Imagine it is the middle of winter. Imagine you are with your mother going to find mussels. Imagine crawling through a hole in the ice, but instead of landing in icy water, you land on mud! The tide is out and your new-found ice cave has seaweed for carpet and icicles that hang from the thick ice roof like stalactites in a cave. Your mother doesn’t come with you as lower yourself into blackness, but she holds a flashlight over the hole like a beacon. You have to find mussels and you can’t get lo ...more
Sep 04, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful tale about a young girl who goes under the ice for the first time by herself to collect mussels. We had never heard of such a thing and for us, the adventure was scary, exciting and mystical. The drama of the tale toward the end had us on the edge of our seats, but of course, as this is a children's picture book, the story ends happily. The narrative is very engaging and entertaining and the illustrations are wonderful. We really enjoyed reading this story together.
Really interesting story about an Inuit girl who gathers mussels on her own for the first time. What makes the story really remarkable is that she does this by going under the ice and walking the sea floor when the tide is out!!! The illustrations help to convey this almost otherworldly, magical experience. I think it would really fascinate many children.
Very Last First Time is an interesting picture book. It has beautiful illustrations and tells an amazing true-tale. Eva Padlyat, an Inuit girl of perhaps nine or ten, lives in a village in Canada without an igloo in sight! Her home and kitchen look like yours or mine and so do the sleds and snow mobiles the people use to get around on the winter snow. But Eva goes on an exciting adventure, common to most people of her village: she climbs beneath the frozen ice to walk on the sea bottom to gather ...more
Scott Hayden
Eva walks on the bottom of the sea. She's done it before, but today will be her first time alone.

Susanna the five-year-old says it has to have 5 stars. I was amazed to learn how Inuit got mussels.
Jenn M
My daughter's kindergarten class studied this book as part of the "Five in a Row" curriculum at school. Since she enjoyed the story so much, I had to read it myself. Clever title that draws one in with curiosity as to what is a "Last" first time? Good story that compels discussion of events that have "first" times, and events that we remember the "first" times for our lives, especially those events that have cultural and traditional significance to us within the larger community and society.

My d
The best part of this book is its focus on the Inuit tradition of hunting for mussels under the ice when the tide is out. A young girl makes a hole in the ice and walks on the ocean floor--minus the ocean water--by herself for the first time. Predictably, she goes too far and for a moment wonders if she will make her way back, but all ends well. Since neither the author nor the illustrator seem to have even visited the people who walk under the ice in real life, I have to wonder about the accura ...more
Cindi P.
A good picture book about a time in the life of an Inuit child. I enjoyed learning about her experience, as I had no idea such practices were part of life for those in Northern Canada. I enjoyed the illustrations as well.
Angie Libert
About an Inuit girl who goes looking for mussels at the bottom of the sea which is frozen over but at low tide. I had no idea you could do that! And for this girl is was her very last first time. :)
One of the books from Five in a Row, but it is a special favorite of mine. If you get a chance, pick it up. It's interesting to see how different cultures are in their child raising.
Mandy Blackburn
I read this many years ago but had forgotten until I read it again now. This is a magical book with parts of wonder and even the thrill of fear.
What should you do when you are afraid? A powerful story that had my children entranced.
The search for mussels in the winter by walking 'the bottom of the sea'.
A good book to teach about inuit native americans and their culture
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Jan Andrews lives down the end of a road on a lake and has a passion for the Canadian wilderness. As a storyteller, she has a particular love for the traditional folk and fairy tales. She has read from the world’s great epics and, during summer weekends, has organized complete retellings of both The Iliad and The Odyssey. Her writing comes out of a conviction that young people can find, within the ...more
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