On Sand Island
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrated by David A. Johnson
Houghton Mifflin, 2003
(From the front book flap) "In the deep blue waters of Lake Superior lies a small island of hummingbirds, rabbits, and hardy Norwegian fishing folk. On that island lives a boy named Carl who wants nothing more than to be out on the water in a boat of his own making. So this is a story of sawing, nailing, and sanding. But because Sand Island neighbors are closer than cousins, this is also a story of picking strawberries, moving rocks, and mending fishing nets fine as lace."
In On Sand Island bartering for goods and services were
a major part of the story as Carl sought the materials to make his
Introduce the origin of monetary system by reading the following
sstories. Discuss the plot in terms of the system of barter that
takes place. After a discussion of the bartering system, it is
just a small step to to discuss the evolution from bartering to
exchanging goods and services for money — the evolution of our monetary
- Self - Sufficient —Read Tomie dePaola's "Charlie
Needs a Cloak" (Simon, 1973, 1988). Charlie shears the wool of
his sheep, cards, washess, and spins it into thread. He dyes the
thread and weaves the read and weaves the thread into cloth.
Using the cloth, he cuts and sews his own cloak.
- Self - Sufficient — A similar tale is told in The
Goat in teh Rug by Geraldine by Charles L. Blood and Martin Link (Fourt
Winds, 1976; Aladdin 1990). A Navajo woman shears her goat,
washes and cards the wool and so forth. She searches the
countryside for plants that will yield the colored elements to dye the
thread. However, the goat eats the plants, so the woman must
purcahse the dyes. For the most part, though, this story is one
of self-sufficiency. She does have to rely on ohtres for the
dyes. This story moves us one step closer to bartering/purchasing
the goods and services of others.
- Bartering services for services — Pelle's New Suit by Elsa Beskow (Platt & Munk, 1929; Harper, 1060) tells of Pelle
who needs a new suit and exchanges hisservices for the items or
services that he needs. For example, he weeds his grandmother's
garden in exchange for her weaving the cloth. Pelle is not able
to produce all of these things for himself, he trades his own services
for what he needs.
- Bartering Goods for Services — In A New Coat for
Anna by Harriet Ziefert (Knopf, 1986) Anna's mother attempts to obtain
a new coat for Anna, but she has little, if any money. Even if Annaa's
mother haadthe money, the goods are not available in the stores.
She gives the farmer an item in exchange for his sheep's wool.
Similar tradess of goods for services are made throughout the process
of spinning the thread, weaving the cloth, and tailoring the
cloth into a coat. At the end of the story, there is a
gathering of all those who contributed to the coat. Each is
wearing the item Anna's mother traded. If Anna's mother had sold
her brooch or necklace, she could have used her money to purchase the
goods and services that she needed. Instead, she bartered.
- Read On Sand Island and discuss what Carl does --
be self-sufficient, barter goods for services, or barter services for
services (or a combination of those behaviors). Discuss how our
monetary system came about.
Martin's inspiration for this lyrical tale, told in the
rhythms of lapping water, came from a summer experience on Lake
Superior's Sand Island, where a Norwegian named Carl Dahl once set his
nets.When at last the boat is complete, he names it Beach Glass, and
it's not just the boy's determination that brings the whole island to
rejoice with him, it's the way he's made them all a part of his dream.
-- Publishers Weekly
Martin's measured prose-"Carl dreamed about boats. / He drew the
boat he would build: / a little flat-bottomed pound boat / like the
fishermen use . . . "-gives the episode a grave, formal feeling, and
Johnson's delicately lined, low-contrast paintings respectfully depict
a community in which "island neighbors are closer than cousins," always
willing to give each other a hand. Thoughtful readers will appreciate
this low-key tribute to a child's determination, and to the mutual
respect that binds a community together. -- Kirkus Reviews
Jackie Melvin of the Eugene Oregon Guard says, "Here is a picture
book that is as good as they come. The story is based on a real place
and actual people, so we learn some little-known American history. Yet
Martin’s text reads like a fine prose poem and uses elements of
traditional folktales. Johnson’s pen and watercolor pictures are
gorgeous." Eugene Oregon Guard 12/01/08