score

80

Very Last First Time

"Very Last First Time" shows an Inuit girl's resilience in a frightening place.

Eva braves the caverns beneath coastal ice to collect mussels.

Full Review

This is an amazing little story. Young Eva Padlyat will gather mussels from beneath the coastal ice of the ocean, “Today for the very first time in her life, Eva would walk on the bottom of the sea alone.” But, she has to finish and get out before the tide comes in. Imagine exploring under thick ice, and your candle sputters out!

Without political correctness, this story portrays something extraordinary, both in the character of Eva and about the culture in which she lives. Ian Wallace’s illustrations use blue in a way that ties the darkness of the Great North to the deep blue candle-lit caverns beneath the ice. His unique style simultaneously captures the beauty and the eeriness of the ice. Here is a BBC video of the real thing:

Eva’s success is an extraordinary rite of passage for a young girl.
The odd wording of the title is her way of emphasizing her own achievement.