An unusual and curious children’s picture book

by | Five in a Row Curriculum, Homeschooling | 1 comment

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This week’s Five in a Row book is Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews, illustrated by Ian Wallace.

This little children’s picture book is based on a subject so unusual and curious that it might spark a lengthy study for the entire family.

High-Risk Mussel Gathering

In Arctic Canada, every two weeks the pull of the moon combines with the geography of this region to create unusually large tides. In the coldest months, when the tides are extremely low and the ice that coats the Arctic sea is thickest, the water can fall as much as 55 feet in some places, emptying the bay under the ice along the shore for an hour or more. The frozen ice drops with the outgoing tide and rests on the ocean beach and rises again with the fast moving incoming tide. While resting on the bottom when the tide is out, the ice leaves large caves and tunnels under the ice and the seabed is exposed.

The Inuit, the people of that area, wait for the tide to go out, go out onto the bay, and dig a tunnel down through the ice to get to the sandy beach underneath. They quickly search with lights for food — fat and juicy mussels. They have to work very fast to avoid being trapped by the incoming water — the tide stays out less than an hour. The work is very dangerous.

Very Last First Time

Very Last First Time is about an Inuit girl’s first time under the ice alone.

Using the Story Disk to mark the setting of Very Last First Time


Illustrating Very Last First Time

Experimenting with ice

Grandpa helping

Grammy helping with one of the add-ons (books used to complement the primary book)


Building igloos

Add-Ons (books which you can read along with Very Last First Time)

Stone Fox Unabridged Audio Book by John Reynolds Gardiner

The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett

Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley

Arctic Son by Jean Craighead George

Snow Bear by Jean Craighead George

Ice Bear and Little Fox by Jonathan London

Welcome to Canada by Elma Schemenauer

Building an Igloo by Ulli Seltzer

The Inuit by Kevin Cunningham

Avati: Discovering Arctic Ecology by Mia Pelletier

Nature Cross-sections by Richard Orr

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joose

Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear by Nicola Davies

The Igloo by Charlotte Yue

Coastal Habitats by David Stephens

Welcome to the Icehouse by Jane Yolen

About Habitats: Polar Regions by Cathryn and John Sill