Trial by Ice: A Photobiography of Sir Ernest Shackleton
By K. M. Kostyal
(National Geographic Society, 1999, 64 pages)
Ages 8 to 12
How to Survive in Antarctica
By Lucy Jane Bledsoe
(Holiday House, 2006, 101 pages)
Ages 10 and older
Antarctica is an exotic, mysterious land waiting to be explored. "Trial by Ice" tells the story of one 20th-century Antarctic explorer. Sir Ernest Shackleton was born in 1874. He grew into a young man with a love for adventure. After 10 years as a merchant marine, he jumped at the opportunity to be aboard an Antarctic expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott. Shackleton would go on to lead two more expeditions to the Antarctic before his death in 1922.
"Trial by Ice" is full of photographs from Shackleton's life and adventures. It gives the reader a stark impression of the hardships that antarctic explorers faced. It shows the vast expanse of the continent, as well as the gear that explorers of the past used, and the ships they sailed. The photographs are well-chosen to give an impression of Shackleton's experience. They are integrated with the text, making each page visually interesting.
Shackleton's courage and spirit of adventure are inspiring. He was well-liked by his crewmen, and managed to lead his Antarctic expeditions with no lost of his crew's life despite the harsh conditions the men faced. Shackleton's adventures in Antarctica spark the imagination.
"How to Survive in Antarctica" is a modern-day guide to an Antarctic expedition. Bledsoe starts off detailing the gear needed to survive the extreme antarctic conditions. She then describes the essentials of surviving the main places to visit and explore in Antarctica: the Peninsula, McMurdo Sound and the South Pole. She presents the information in a fun, approachable manner. The reader gets a clear picture of what a trip to Antarctica might be like.
There are sidebars throughout the text, giving readers Antarctic history and glimpses of specific challenges facing survival in Antarctica. Bledsoe does a good job of painting a complete picture of the complexities of Antarctic travel and exploration in today's world. The sidebars give context and add interest.
Bledsoe's enthusiasm for exploring Antarctica fuels the spark of imagination ignited by Shackleton's photobiography. There is no doubt of the excitement and adventure inspired by Antarctica and the men and women who explore and study it. These two books share that excitement.
- Amanda Puetz, librarian