When a young adventurer is snowed in, his predicament begins to parallel that of the icebound Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton.
A young boy is all set for a school presentation about Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 expedition to Antarctica when he gets unexpectedly snowed in by a storm. Taking charge of the ship (his house) and reassuring the crew (his family), the young captain records his adventures, which mirror significant details of Shackleton’s infamous voyage, in his captain’s log. Full of heart and imagination, the boy transforms the family dog into his first mate, neighbors into penguins, and his little brother into a scallywag. The young captain does his best to perform his duties and care for his crew and ship just as Shackleton would have, but when the hardtack (cookie jar) disappears and mutiny threatens, the captain must resort to unorthodox methods to solve the mystery and get back on track. Dionne and Ebbeler have crafted a narrative full of spirit with small aesthetic choices that together capture the exhilaration of exploration and help connect the imaginary to the everyday. Historical details, including a glossary and brief account of Shackleton’s treacherous voyage, enrich a story that takes its pretend play very seriously, and a multiracial family and an endearing protagonist of color are welcome inclusions in a predominantly white landscape of adventure tales.
Entertaining, informative—utterly delightful. (Picture book. 5-8)