Through storm, burning cold, dehydration, disease, all 28 men returned after 22 “unexpected” months at sea; the book’s a...

History has always had its ages of exploration, but the start of the 20th century is right up there.

Here in crisp novel format is Ernest Shackleton’s brainstorm—oh, call it a fever dream—to cross the Antarctic continent via the South Pole, an effort doomed when his approach vessel froze in pack ice in 1915. The story gets down to this: Shackleton tries to make sure that all 28 men on his expedition get home—the dogs and the cat don’t make it, ahem—in a story so preposterous that it has become legend. McCumiskey coaxes drama from the episode—dying of the cold, starvation, or wasting disease could be like watching grass grow—and Butler’s artwork brings emotional Technicolor to the land of white. His craggy linework is heroic even as it conveys the horrific conditions. Once on South Georgia Island, the men drive nails through their boots to climb the ice-encrusted mountains to get to the whaling station on the other side. Here we meet many of the book’s cruxes: “Always keeping a brave face, Shackleton knows the key to survival is all about keeping spirits high. He has come so far that he isn’t going to let nails piercing the soles of his feet stop him now.”

Through storm, burning cold, dehydration, disease, all 28 men returned after 22 “unexpected” months at sea; the book’s a success, too—no small feat for an oft-told tale. (Graphic nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84889-281-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: The Collins Press/Dufour Editions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016



There’s nothing like seeing a tenacious cowgirl wrangle a bronco to buck notions of a weaker sex—so it makes sense that suffrage came to the American West first, 51 years before the 19th Amendment would grant women the right to vote in the rest of the country. Hats off, indeed! Abundant photographs, rodeo programs and primary-source quotations from Wild West pioneers bring this invitingly designed cowgirl chronicle to life, from 19th-century trailblazers who came West in covered wagons to dime-novel outlaws Belle Starr and Calamity Jane to modern-day cowgirls such as 60-year-old Cowgirl Hall of Famer Jan Youren (who still rides bareback in rodeos) and Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who grew up on a Texas ranch. The straight-shooting if not rip-snorting reportage is at its best when contextualizing the cowgirl in America’s social history and less effective when it, as it often does, devolves into a dizzying litany of names and nicknames. Still, there’s plenty of rich fodder here for equestriennes and those interested in Western or women’s history. (bibliography, sources and photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-617-73738-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010


From the Marigold Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Cold indeed is the heart not made warm by this bubbly fairy-tale romance. Raised by a kindly forest troll, Christian knows little of the world beyond what he can see through his telescope, but gazing upon a nearby castle, he falls head over heels for Princess Marigold. What chance has he, though, as a (supposed) commoner? When at last he nerves himself to send her a message via carrier pigeon, she answers and the courtship is on—via “p-mail” at first, then, after he lands a job as a castle servant, face to face. Setting numerous fairy-tale conventions just a bit askew, Ferris (Of Sound Mind, 2001, etc.) surrounds her two smart, immensely likable teenagers, who are obviously made for each other, with rival suitors, hyperactive dogs, surprising allies, and strong adversaries. The most notable among the last is devious, domineering Queen Olympia, intent on forcing Marigold into marriage with a penniless, but noble, cipher. The author gets her commonsensical couple to “I Do” through brisk palace intrigue, life-threatening situations, riotous feasting, and general chaos; Queen Olympia gets suitable comeuppance, and the festivities are capped by the required revelation that Christian is actually heir to the throne of neighboring Zandelphia. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales will be in familiar territory here, as well as seventh heaven. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216791-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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