A smart, inclusive and evocative account of a mountain, its character and its past.

TALES FROM THE TOP OF THE WORLD

CLIMBING MOUNT EVEREST WITH PETE ATHANS

A solid introduction to the world’s highest mountain has a you-are-there feel.

The Athanses have collaborated in a most fruitful way: Sandra as a narrative Sherpa of sorts and Pete as the raconteur of riveting adventure stories from his 14 attempts, in which he succeeded in summiting a staggering seven times. Sandra has lots of stunning facts to display—the 250 mph gusts of wind, the deadly snowstorms, the killer illnesses that can strike climbers—as well as notorious landscapes to explore: the Khumbu Icefall, the Death Zone, the Hillary Step. And certainly there are important questions to address, from the mountain’s name in Tibetan and Nepalese to how one goes to the bathroom when there is no bathroom to go to. It all smoothly gathers, like snowflakes into a glacier, and a bright, dangerous and humbling portrait of Everest/Chomolungma/Sagarmatha takes shape. Pete adds handfuls of colorful episodes, mostly crackerjack moments of mayhem averted, which are made substantive by the many tack-sharp photographs. Local guides and porters are well incorporated into the story, as are regional customs and mountain culture.

A smart, inclusive and evocative account of a mountain, its character and its past. (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6506-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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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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