A fine choice for both young and older, less-skilled readers.

READ REVIEW

CLIMBING EVEREST

From the Totally True Adventures series

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)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-50986-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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An apt choice for collections that already have stronger alternatives, such as R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012).

UGLY

A memoir of the first 14 years in the life of Australian Robert Hoge, born with stunted legs and a tumor in the middle of his face.

In 1972, Robert is born, the youngest of five children, with fishlike eyes on the sides of his face, a massive lump in place of his nose, and malformed legs. As baby Robert is otherwise healthy, the doctors convince his parents to approve the first of many surgeries to reduce his facial difference. One leg is also amputated, and Robert comes home to his everyday white, working-class family. There's no particular theme to the tale of Robert's next decade and a half: he experiences school and teasing, attempts to participate in sports, and is shot down by a girl. Vignette-driven choppiness and the lack of an overarching narrative would make the likeliest audience be those who seek disability stories. However, young Robert's ongoing quest to identify as "normal"—a quest that remains unchanged until a sudden turnaround on the penultimate page—risks alienating readers comfortable with their disabilities. Brief lyrical moments ("as compulsory as soggy tomato sandwiches at snack time") appeal but are overwhelmed by the dry, distant prose dominating this autobiography.

An apt choice for collections that already have stronger alternatives, such as R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012). (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-425-28775-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A splendid volume for young adventurers.

SURVIVOR KID

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

Based on her work with middle-school students, Long offers lessons on how to stay healthy and out of trouble while awaiting rescue, the same lessons taught to adults in her survival classes.

Her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone will play well with young readers, and the clear writing style is appropriate to the content. The engaging guide covers everything from building shelters to avoiding pigs and javelinas. With subjects like kissing bugs, scorpions, snow blindness and “How going to the bathroom can attract bears and mountain lions,” the volume invites browsing as much as studying. The information offered is sometimes obvious: “If you find yourself facing an alligator, get away from it”; sometime humorous: Raccoons will “fight with your dog, steal all your food, then climb up a tree and call you bad names in raccoon language”; and sometimes not comforting: “When alligators attack on land, they usually make one grab at you; if they miss, you are usually safe.” But when survival is at stake, the more information the better, especially when leavened with some wit. An excellent bibliography will lead young readers to a host of fascinating websites, and 150 clipart-style line drawings complement the text.

A splendid volume for young adventurers. (index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-708-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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