While it is not surprising that Anchorage, AK, has a zoo, it may be surprising to learn that the first zoo animal was an elephant. As you might guess, elephants are not exactly suited for Alaska winters. And this held true with the first Alaskan elephant, Annabelle. This little elephant inspired many stories and today’s Mukluks for Annabelle review.
The Background on Annabelle
When we take our kids to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, we don’t see elephants. We see mostly cold-weather animals: polar bears, musk ox, yaks, caribou, etc. But in the 1960s, the zoo was designed to be a safe haven for Annabelle the elephant (and a few additional animals). You see, Annabelle had been won during a contest by an Anchorage resident. Her owner boarded her at the only heated horse stables in Anchorage which were owned by Sammye Seawell. People from all over Alaska flocked to see this baby elephant. But as winter came, it became evident that the snow was too cold for Annabelle’s feet. Seawell tried many different types of footwear for Annabelle from all over the state, but none were effective…except mukluks. This inspired the story, Mukluks for Annabelle.
Overview of Mukluks for Annabelle
Mukluks are traditional footwear for Alaskan Natives, made from the skins and furs of animals to keep feet warm in intense cold and deep snow. Mukluks for Annabelle is the story of a young Alaska Native girl and her grandmother who come up with the idea to make mukluks for the young elephant. This would allow Annabelle to enjoy Alaskan winters. When reading Mukluks for Annabelle, you will discover that Annabelle is given the mukluks and able to walk through the snow happily.
A Classic Too Adorable to Resist
This book is a little harder to find due to its age, so I debated long and hard about whether I should write a Mukluks for Annabelle review. But it is simply too adorable to resist. I love the interactions between the young girl and her grandmother as they make the mukluks. Furthermore, the illustrations are sweet and wholesome. You can purchase this book used on Amazon. And perhaps you can find it at a local library!
Be sure to check out the free worksheet I designed to go along with this book whether you are able to find the book or not. The worksheet is about dressing for Alaska winters, and has a fun activity for kids to complete! I hope you enjoyed today’s review, and I look forward to discussing another Alaskan children’s book with you next month!