Outlandishly enthralling tales of survival under extreme—extremely extreme—circumstances, peppered with do-and-don’t tips.
Four encounters with dire straits make up the body of this collection, but they are told in slices as Kyi enters the picture to help readers understand what the people did right and what they did wrong. One finds a small group abandoned on an ice floe in Arctic waters, another chronicles a young man trapped thousands of feet underground in a mine, and two others tell of the aftermath of plane and boat wrecks. First comes the hard-wired response to fight or flee—then there’s hunger, thirst, freezing, broiling, getting enough oxygen and contending with all the little tricks the brain plays, including hallucinations and delusions. Parkins does a good job of blending sheer terror with glimmers of hope in his drawings, and it is hope—the survival instinct—that drives the book along. As Kyi recounts the four main stories with a controlled but dramatic flair, it is the sidebars that convince readers that survival is possible under the most crazy-wild situations. Post-trauma issues are also addressed, which can be as fearsome as the event itself.
Kyi’s fresh voice will have readers picturing themselves in the shoes of these real-life survivors. (Nonfiction. 9-12)