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 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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A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with...

WRITING RADAR

USING YOUR JOURNAL TO SNOOP OUT AND CRAFT GREAT STORIES

Advice on writing from one of the best writers around.

“I’m a writer and I’m on your side,” Gantos says, as if he’s putting an arm around a young writer’s shoulder and guiding them through a door to a new life. With a snappy voice, his own funny ink drawings, and expertise drawn from a career full of great books, he covers just about everything: where to find ideas and characters, how to structure a story, why to keep a journal, and even what to write with. Every step of the way he includes examples from his own writing. As humorous as he is, Gantos is authoritative and serious about his craft, careful to include every building block for constructing a good story—characters, setting, problem, action, crisis, resolution, and the need for a double ending (physical and emotional). Chapter 2 (“Getting Started”) ought to be read by all teachers and parents: it’s a manifesto on how to raise a reader (and writer) by reading aloud excellent picture books to young children and placing good books in the hands of children as they get older, and he offers a handy list of just what some of those books should be. While his list of picture books is not a particularly diverse one, the middle-grade titles suggested are nicely inclusive.

A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with Jack. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30456-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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