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The story of a field trip of eleven Cub Scouts from Alaska to Provideniya, a small town in the Soviet Far East.



The story of a 4-day excursion taken by 11 Cub Scouts and their sponsors from Nome, Alaska, to Provideniya, Siberia, USSR. The brief documentary is filled with full-color photographs that show the exuberance of the event. The fact that the trip was made over the Fourth-of-July holiday allowed the Americans to share some of our celebration, such as hot dogs and roasted marshmallows. Murphy, who accompanied the boys, has a sharp ear for capturing their responses. The style is rather simplistic, but the book is aimed at a young audience. It’s an excellent tool to use in raising cultural awareness not only of the Soviet Far East, but also of the Arctic Natives. The glossary reflects both Russian and Yupik Eskimo terms. The appended Cyrillic alphabet, along with the names of letters and equivalent sounds in English, helps explain the Russian terms used in the text and photographs. Georgia to Georgia (Tambourine, 1991) by Laurie Dolphin is a more polished photo-essay of a visit of one boy and his family from Georgia, USA, to a family in Georgia, USSR. The two books complement each other because while the experiences differ, the culminating vision is the same: g lasnost can be accomplished, most especially through the young.

–Mollie Bynum, Chester Valley Elem. School, Anchorage, AK.¬†Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

If a choice must be made, this account of American children getting acquainted with their Soviet counterparts is preferable to Dolphin’s Georgia to Georgia (p. 470/C-90). Murphy’s narrative explaining that the Cub Scouts’ trip was one of several recent citizen visits 200 miles across the Bering Strait (including long-delayed reunions among Eskimo relatives) is more straightforward and coherent; the excellent color photos of kids having a good time together seem more genuinely spontaneous here; even the simple map is more satisfactory, including exactly what the reader will want to know. The picture of the port city of Provideniya and the Scouts’ reception there is nicely balanced: security officials may be grim-faced, but the hosts all have welcoming smiles; TV programs may remind the adults of the 50’s but are a salutary reminder that cartoons used to be less violent in US, too; concrete buildings look forbidding, but the apartments within are cozy and attractive. A fine report on a happy, mind-expanding exchange. (Nonfiction. 7-12)
—¬†Copyright ¬©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


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