ICE WRECK

ROAD TO READING: MILE 4

The amazing Antarctic survival story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew is the basis for this transitional chapter book. Shackleton and his crew of 27 were attempting to cross the continent of Antarctica in 1914, when their ship, the Endurance, became stuck in the ice. They stayed with the ship for seven months, camped on ice floes for five months, and then rowed in small lifeboats to a distant island. Their saga continued as Shackleton and four of the men continued on to another island to get help for the rest of the crew, and all the crew members survived the 18-month ordeal. Penner does a serviceable job of summarizing a complex story in brief chapters, with short sentences that convey the information with a sense of excitement and inherent danger. A few black-and-white photographs from the actual expedition are included (without captions), supplemented with LaFleur’s coordinating illustrations in icy blues and lavenders. Several books for young readers on the Shackleton saga have been published in the last few years, including two well-received volumes by Jennifer Armstrong and an easy reader in Random House’s Step into Reading series (Monica Kulling’s Sea of Ice: The Wreck of the Endurance, 1999). Still, kids do love disaster books, and this story has all the drawing power of a disaster without the unhappy ending (except for the poor sled dogs). (Easy reader/nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-307-26408-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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ELIZABETI'S DOLL

Charmed by her new baby brother, Elizabeti decides that she wants a baby of her own; she picks up a smooth rock, names it Eva and washes, feeds, and changes her, and carries her about in her cloth kanga. Hale dresses Elizabeti and her family in modern, brightly patterned clothing that practically glows against the earth-toned, sketchily defined Tanzanian village in which this is set. Although Eva appears a bit too large for Elizabeti to handle as easily as she does, the illustrations reflect the story’s simplicity; accompanied by an attentive hen, Elizabeti follows her indulgent mother about, mimicking each nurturing activity. The object of Elizabeti’s affection may be peculiar, but the love itself is real. Later, she rescues Eva from the fire pit, tenderly cleans her, then cradles the stone until she—Elizabeti—falls asleep. Stuve-Bodeen’s debut is quirky but believable, lightly dusted with cultural detail, and features universal emotions in an unusual setting. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-880000-70-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1998

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RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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