Edmund Hillary is generally recognized as the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest; his Nepalese climbing partner, Tenzing Norgay, has received far less attention.
In brief chapters, Herman first describes early efforts to scale Everest, one of which led to the deaths of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine in 1924. She includes basic information about the many challenges climbers faced: poor equipment, avalanche danger, extreme cold and severe storms, and, especially, oxygen deprivation at high altitudes. Biographical information about Mallory, Norgay, and Hillary adds context to their intrepid, driven efforts. Information about the essential role played by numerous skilled Sherpas adds a multicultural element. The rest of this engaging nonfiction tale focuses on Hillary and Norgay's shared climb, truly a team effort that the two men spent most of their lives preparing for. Appealing cover art and a high-interest topic that pairs well with other recent Everest-focused books help make this an easy sell for reluctant readers. Follow-up information on the surviving climbers, a description of a 50th-anniversary expedition to the summit by the sons of Norgay and Hillary in 2003, a list of Mount Everest records, and maps and illustrations (not available for review) round out a balanced and entertaining presentation.
A fine choice for both young and older, less-skilled readers. (Nonfiction. 7-14)