Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Caught amid slabs of ice, the Endurance groaned and creaked as it was slowly squeezed tighter and tighter. The vessel had sheltered twenty-eight men for more than a year; it was only a matter of time before she broke apart. Far from home, the only place to go was the frozen Weddell Sea – a million square miles of ice. On 26 October 1915, there was no guarantee that they would survive.
In August 1914 two momentous events happened the same week in England: Britain declared war on Germany and Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew set sail for Antarctica. This was his third such journey, but this time he planned to cross 1,800 miles of land by dogsled. It would be a journey fraught with danger, especially since the night temperature could drop to -80 degrees and for three and a half months a year there is no sun. He selected twenty-eight men out of 5,000 to accompany him, including a longtime friend, two scientists, two doctors, a carpenter, two engineers, a storekeeper, a cook, an artist, and a photographer. Aside from the seventy dogs to haul the sleds, they took with them food, three lifeboats, film, and supplies. Upon Shackleton’s return to England, he planned to engage in a speaking tour and to write of his experience in order to pay the massive debts he accrued financing the expedition.
Part of Scholastic’s Lost series, this book opens with a photograph of Endurance’s crew and a cast of the characters readers meet in the story. Olson includes maps, a diagram of the ship, glossary, author’s note, sources, and end notes. Interspersed throughout the chapters are captioned photographs taken by Frank Hurley, the expedition’s photographer.
The intended audience for Lost in the Antarctic is children in grades three through eight, but some subject matter may not be appropriate for all readers as it involves the killing of seals, penguins, and the dogs. Yet this book is also a tale of how men work together to endure and survive desperation, isolation, and extreme conditions. Olson describes this ill-fated expedition with such vivid intensity that even on a hot day in Texas, this reader shivers. He pulls no punches, portraying the hardships endured with brutal honesty. The inclusion of Hurley’s pictures adds a realism that words alone cannot portray. Together they transport readers, young and old alike, back in time to a place few of us will ever visit.
Review Copyrighted ©2019 Cindy Vallar
Home Pirate Articles Pirate Links Book Reviews Thistles & Pirates
Click on the Cannon to Contact Me