Review By JENNIFER KALI
I was delighted to receive this book for review. It was already on my wish list! A book about a boy with our family name, Kali,who was disinterested in hunting, seemed right up my alley.
Kali lives in ancient times, where Woolly Mammoths roam the earth and family history isrecorded on cave walls. Kali is coming of age and is told that, to be a man, it’s time for him to go out and hunt. Kali is instructed to practice hunting to prepare for the big coming of age ceremony, in which Kali will be expected to bring down a Woolly Mammoth.
Every day Kali goes out on his own under the pretense of hunting practice. However, he has discovered a better use for his bow – it makes beautiful music. Kali spends hours in the field playing his music while his family believes he is hunting.
When the day comes for the coming of age ceremony, Kali’s dad asks if he is ready. Kali is indeed ready – he walks out to the field and plays his beautiful song. All of the animals come to listen. No animal is killed that day and all of the villagers are in awe. Kali becomes a shaman and continues to play his music every day.
I enjoyed this book, especially the anti-hunting perspective. However, I don’t know that I will keep this book in my family library. It is a story of a boy’s coming of age. Much ado is made about the fact that boys become men who hunt and provide food for the tribe, and there is a special ceremony to honor this. I’ve been trying to teach my daughter that boys and girls can do anything, but there is no mention of girls or women in this book except for Kali’s mom. What do girls grow up to become in Kali’s time? Do they have coming-of-age ceremony? Can girls be anything they want in this time? While there is nothing blatantly sexist about this book, I don’t think I need to add a “boys are special” book to our collection.
Recommended for families who care about animal welfare, but not for families who care about gender equity.