The Itchy Little Musk Ox

By Tricia Brown

Illustrated by Debra Dubac

Alaska Northwest Books, 2006

32 pp, softcover, 10.5 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches

ISBN-13: 978-0882406145

Ages 3 and up

Selected for Alaska Battle of the Books numerous times!

Art by Lilly. Nice job!

(Thank you, Librarians!)

The patience of a little musk ox is sorely tried when he suffers an itch that he can’t scratch. There’s not a tree in sight–nothing to rub against for relief–so he wanders away from the herd looking for a branch, a rock pile, anything.

On his journey, he meets with three individuals: a buffalo, a wolf, and a Native woman. Through his interaction with each one, he learns something new and affirming about himself before returning to the herd. Endnotes include information about how musk ox were native to Alaska until they were decimated by hunters in 1865, then reintroduced in the early 1930s; biological/behavioral details about the animals; and info about the cottage industry among Native villages in which women knit the qiviut (KIV-ee-oot), the rare underwool, into beautiful, warm garments.

Midwest Book Review:

The Itchy Little Musk Ox is a softcover children’s picture book about an unhappy young musk ox. He has an itch he can’t scratch from his own soft wool, and his downward-pointing horns won’t reach it. When he finds the right tree to scratch his itch, he becomes separated from the herd! On his long journey to rejoin them he discovers all the good things about being a musk ox – his horns and hard head are good for headbutting a hungry wolf, and his soft wool is prized by a gentle human. A two-page summary of fascinating facts about musk oxen closes this delightful adventure, illustrated in full color, recommended for readers age 3 and up.

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Check out this artistic thank you letter from Marissa!