Today Caramel wanted to talk about one of his favorite books: Totem Tale: A Tall Story from Alaska written by Deb Vanasse and illustrated by Erik Brooks. Sprinkles is asking questions along the way and taking notes.
Sprinkles: Let us talk about this book Caramel. What is it about?
Caramel: It is about a totem pole which is enchanted.
S: In what way?
C: When it’s a full moon, it comes to life. The whole totem pole.
S: Tell me more. What is a totem pole?
C: A totem pole is a tall pole made of wood, with animals carved into parts of it. And it is painted. Here is what Wikipedia says about them: totem poles are “monumental carvings, a type of Northwest Coast art, consisting of poles, posts or pillars, carved with symbols or figures”.
S: And this one is a totem pole in Alaska, according to the book title. And again according to Wikipedia, a totem is “a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe.” So how does this particular totem pole come to life? Tell me more Caramel.
C: I can just read from the book:
“Deep in a cedar forest stood a totem pole, stark and still. Long ago a carver stacked the totem animals and then forgot them.”
S: Well, maybe he did not forget them. Since it was a long ago, maybe he died. Maybe his people had to leave the forest.
C: Yes, that is possible too. Let me continue to read.
“One night the moon rose low and full. Washed in the light of moonbeams, the totems SPRANG to life.”
S: That sounds exciting! So then what happens?
C: They go have fun for a night. As real living animals.
S: Then what happens?
C: Then before the sun rises they have to return to the pole or else they will have never been. Which is sad. Really sad.
S: Yes, it is sad! Then what happens?
C: None of them can remember the order of the totem pole. How they started in the beginning, like who was on top, who was under, and so on. They all brag about themselves and try to take the supposedly place of honor on the very top.
S: But most of their attempts fail, right?
C: Yes, they fail and come tumbling down to the ground.
S: Until … well maybe we shouldn’t give away the whole thing.
C: Okay, fine.
S: So what do you like about this book most Caramel?
C: I like the animals. They’re so cute! Like us bunnies!
S: So what animals are there among the totems?
C: Let me see. There is a frog, there’s a beaver, an eagle, a bear, and a wolf, and a raven. That is the order of the totem pole.
S: Really? How can the frog carry the bear?
C: I don’t know. Well they’re all made of wood, aren’t they?
S: And of course this is a story! it doesn’t have to make sense in all ways.
C: But in the end the order does make sense. And the Raven explains it.
S: Ok, let’s not give away any more. But this is a magical story really. And I totally understand why you like it so much. Alright, this is a good place to end this review. What last thing do you want to tell our readers?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunny adventures!