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THE INDESTRUCTIBLE TOM CREAN by Jennifer Thermes Kirkus Star


Heroic Explorer of the Antarctic

by Jennifer Thermes ; illustrated by Jennifer Thermes

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 2023
ISBN: 978-0-593-11772-9
Publisher: Viking

The tale of an indomitable sailor who survived challenge after challenge—including the wreck of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance.

Irish-born sailor Tom Crean’s (1877-1938) life changed forever when he agreed to join a voyage destined for Antarctica. Signing on to the Discovery, Crean was involved in early exploration of the continent and ultimately made three treks to the Antarctic—the last of which extended more than two years and involved a death-defying journey back to civilization after the loss of the famous Endurance. Each journey was fraught with dangers, from starvation and malnutrition to frostbite and hypothermia. But still, Crean returned. Though the story does not shy away from the tragedies and horrors of exploration, noting the loss of both human and animal companions on each journey, Thermes’ narration is age-appropriate. Readers fascinated by the sea or by our least-populated continent will find this biography gripping, and educators and caregivers will appreciate the robust backmatter, which includes an afterword, a timeline, and a list of select sources that encourage further study. Relying on panels, as in a graphic novel, the illustrations, rendered in colored pencil and watercolor, capture the warmth of the ships and the cold expanses of the glaciers and ice. Thermes makes excellent use of the pages’ white spaces to capture the beauty and the loneliness of Antarctica, further pulling readers into Crean’s journey. Crean and his crewmates present White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A story of bitter cold infused with warmth and with the fighting spirit of its courageous subject.

(facts about Antarctica) (Biography. 8-10)