Born in a two-room, tar paper-covered house in the far north of Greenland, Marie Ahnighito Peary was destined to have an exciting childhood. Her parents, the famous explorer Robert E. Peary and Josephine Peary, had shocked Victorian society by starting their family so far away from "civilization." Fair-skinned children were so rare in the far North that the local Inuit called Marie "Snow Baby." Growing up partly in Greenland wearing native clothing, Marie and her Inuit playmates explored the frozen tundra, played with sled dog puppies, and kept a baby musk ox as a pet. As a seven-year-old, Marie spent a perilous winter trapped on a ship that had been iced in. Map, time line, bibliography, index.
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Katherine Kirkpatrick is the author of fiction and nonfiction
books for young readers, all reflecting her fascination with history. These include The Snow Baby and Redcoats and Petticoats. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
Grade 4–8—Born north of the Arctic Circle in 1893, Marie Ahnighito Peary published her own version of her youth in 1934 (The Snowbaby's Own Story), on which this book is based. Kirkpatrick's engaging text captures the girl's adventurous spirit and the opportunities that her father's life as an explorer presented, as well as her love of the North and her Inuit friends. Numerous black-and-white photos show the child growing up and pictures from the admiral's quest. A photo of four-month-old Marie reaching for a sunbeam—her first experience of sunlight after the long Arctic night—is especially poignant. It's impossible not to contrast the more staid images of traditional portraits with the lively candid shots of her at a ship's helm or standing with her Inuit friends dressed in animal skins. Children will relate to nine-year-old Marie's letter urging her father to stay home rather than go exploring again. Notes divided into primary and secondary sources, a bibliography, and acknowledgments reveal Kirkpatrick's thoughtful scholarship and reliance on Peary's book. A terrific addition for most collections.—Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library
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