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Izak of Lapland: Maya's World    by Maya Angelou & Lizzy Rockwell order for
Izak of Lapland
by Maya Angelou
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Dr. Maya Angelou has lived in many countries, making 'little friends' around the world, and coming to believe that 'kids around the world are more alike than different'. She shares with us here a story about Izak of Lapland, enhanced by Lizzy Rockwell's sprightly, bright illustrations, and including a paper doll.

Izak and his family are reindeer herders in Lapland, a country in the Arctic Circle. The Sami wear traditional costumes - a coat and hat of bright blue, with red and yellow trim. When Izak became six years old, his father gave him a reindeer, which he named Totti. Izak attends school in winter, and helps his family herd reindeer in the mountains during the summer. (Lapland is sometimes called the 'land of the midnight sun' because it is as bright at midnight, as it is in the late afternoon.)

The family includes two sisters, Elina and Jannie, and younger brother Yaaupti Utsi, who likes to do everything his big brother does. Izak explains to Yaaupti that reindeer prefer to find their own food, such as grass and lichen, and most importantly, that young reindeer cannot be left out of doors at night because of wolves and wolverines. One night at the supper table, Yaaupti reminds Izak that he forgot to put Totti in the pen. The boys rush outside looking for the young reindeer, and are so happy when they find Totti safe and sound.

Maya Angelou writes: 'When I was a little girl, / I looked around at my world. / It was small, so was I. / Then my world began to grow / With each child I came to know. / Now I try, / Now I dare / To make a new friend / Everywhere.' She shares these friendships in her delightful series.

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