corner corner Fatty Legs


Fatty Legs
by Christy Jordan-Fenton, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton | Children's Books
Registered by Pooker3 of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 8/13/2016
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by Pooker3): travelling

This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!

1 journaler for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by Pooker3 from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Saturday, August 13, 2016

This book has not been rated.

Found in the Little Free Library at Royal Oak School Calgary (which also happened to be a pokestop! ) 

Journal Entry 2 by Pooker3 at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Monday, September 05, 2016

8 out of 10

When I found the Little Free Library at Royal Oak School I expected it would be mostly if not wholly filled with children's books. It was not. In fact there were more adult books than children's. So I felt a little bit guilty in filching Fatty Legs especially when I discovered the inscription on the inside cover. The book had been donated to the library by Mr. Pitts. I imagined Mr. Pitts to be a teacher at the school hoping to provide educational books to his students over the summertime and here I was robbing the kids of their opportunity to read this wonderful story about an eight year-old Inuvialuit girl's experience in residential school.

However I did a bit of investigation and discovered that while indeed Mr. Pitts is a teacher at the school the school had done a good bit of learning about the Inuit people in the North. I'm hoping that the book was placed in the library after the students had studied it.

And I really wanted to read Fatty Legs. I'd heard good reviews about the book but had never run across it. So I assuaged my guilt by replacing the book with a much-loved children's book of my own. When I checked on the LFL a few days later my book had been "checked out" so I hope whoever found it enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Fatty Legs.

Fatty Legs was written by Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and her daughter-in-law Christy Jordan-Fenton. It is a true story. Margaret is the eight year old girl in the story although when the story begins her name is Olemaun. Olemaun lives with her family in the far north of Canada, travelling with them to their seasonal hunting grounds, living and learning as they go. One imagines then that unecessary possessions would be few. But Olemaun's older sister, Rosie, has a book, Alice in Wonderland. And sometimes Rosie reads to her from this book. Olemaun wonders why exactly Alice went down that rabbit hole and she desperately wants to learn to read. She begs her father to let her go to the residential school in far away Aklavik so she can learn to read like Rosie. Her father refuses saying that she would not like it there; that like rocks worn to smooth pebbles by the waves, the school would break her spirit. But Olemaun persists and much against both parents' wishes he relents and lets her go to school.

As might be expected, school is not at all what Olemaun envisioned. Her hair is chopped off. Her clothes that had been carefully selected by her mother for school and those lovingly sewn by her mother are all confiscated and replaced by ill-fitting, uncomfortable and impractical items identical to those given to all of the other students. Even her name is taken away. She will now be known as Margaret. Worse, it takes forever before any learning to read happens. Her days are filled with chores.

Even so Margaret perseveres for the sake of learning to read. However when the mean nun (whom Margaret refers to as the raven) goes too far by assigning Margaret a pair of red stockings when everyone else has gray thereby making her a laughingstock amongst the other students, Margaret fights back.

The story is easy to read and would appeal to children 8 to 12 years old like the grade 4 children responsible for Royal Oak's Little Free Library. As an adult I found it a bit emotionally flat. I didn't really get the sense of confusion, despair and loneliness that I imagined a child in this situation would experience. However, there would I think be considerable educational value in posing "How would you feel if...?" questions to young readers.

Indeed, there is considerable educational value in the story on several fronts. It is a fairly balanced and truthful story about residential schooling. There is a lovely sprinkling of Inuit words to learn such as ulu and kamik; metaphors to explore with the raven and the swan and ethical and philosophical questions to think about in right and wrong; belonging; and reaction to authority.

An enjoyable and worthwhile read that will soon find a new adventure at Little Free Library #2873 in Winnipeg.  

Journal Entry 3 by Pooker3 at Little Free Library #2873 in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Thursday, September 08, 2016

This book has not been rated.

Released 1 yr ago (9/8/2016 UTC) at Little Free Library #2873 in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada


Into LFL #2873 it goes.

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