Rose and I recently rowed Very Last First Time. We don’t currently own this book, but I am considering buying a copy, just because I am afraid it may go out of print! It is a wonderful, adventurous story about a young girl going to collect mussels in a most unusual way….underneath the frozen sea!
Here’s what we did!
- We learned the correct way to pronounce the setting of the book, Ungava Bay.
- She found the Arctic and Atlantic oceans on the globe.
- We used the notes in the manual to talk about northern Canada, and we looked carefully at the illustrations in the book to learn a bit about the culture, how people might dress differently, etc. Of course, there are also plenty of similarities to our own culture, as this peek at Eva’s kitchen shows!
- We watched a BBC video about mussel collecting. It is very scary what those brave folks do to get those mussels! The video is short, a bit tense, but wasn’t too scary for Rose.
- We discussed the title “Very Last First Time” and what it means, using notes in the manual.
- We spend some time going over vocabulary words from the manual and having her act out such things as lighting a candle, scrambling through the hole, dropping mussels in a pan, and more.
- We discussed the contrast in the illustrations: the brightness of day before Eva descends through the sea ice, and the world underneath the ice. I love the illustrations in this book!
- The illustrations have some elements of pointillism in them (made up of tiny dots), so Rose tried her hand at that technique with acrylic paint and Q-tips. She did an underwater scene.
- We looked for the shadow wolf, bear, and seal sea monster hidden in the under-the-ice pictures.
- We used notes in the manual to discuss crisis thinking and safety. Eva keeps her head when her candle goes out, so she is able to light another and make her way safely out to meet her mother – with her mussels! We also discussed the importance of dressing for the weather.
- We talked about tides and tide-pools, but she has already learned quite a bit about those, so we kept it brief.
- We tried the suggestion in the manual to fill a jar with hot water and salt to see if it smelled like the ocean. It didn’t really.
- For our cooking project, we made fry bread tacos. These were heavy, but so good! We eat a lot of tacos, but had not tried them this way before. We will be making them again, for sure.
My next FIAR post will be about the row we finished last week: Another Celebrated Dancing Bear.