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Into The White. Scott’s Antarctic Odyssey by Joanna Grochowicz.

April 27, 2017 Comments off

into whiteInto The White. Scott’s Antarctic Odyssey by Joanna Grochowicz. ¬†Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.

When I went to school the ill fated race to the South Pole between Robert Falcon Scott and Norwegian Roald Amundsen was known by everybody. It’s a story that should never be forgotten and thankfully Joanna Grochowicz has written this simply told and accessible account of Scott’s famous journey.

Joanna lays the facts before you to let you the reader understand and decide why this journey ended so badly. Many blame Scott himself for being a poor decision maker and being aloof from his men. There is ample evidence for you to make up your own mind but I think it is fair to say that if the facts surrounding this trip were put on the table today, no body would go for it.

Patriotism can be an overly persuasive emotion and I think it was with this trip. Showing the Norwegians whose boss got in the way of safety. Scott had mistakenly taken ponies and motorised sleds. Both failed. Amundsen took dogs, 200 of them. He finished with 11.

Scott suffered appalling weather conditions on the Great Ice Barrier. Heavy snow caused men to sink up to their shins and ponies to leave holes a foot deep. White out conditions demoralised the men as they tried to pick a course through a blank wall of white. Scott planned for 16 kilometers a day but they were lucky if they did half that.

The journey across the Great Ice Barrier up the Beardmore Glacier and across the High Plateau was formidable . Food and fuel were short, the men were constantly freezing. Sometimes to stand outside for 2 minutes would cover the men from head to foot in snow. That they got so far was miraculous. After the horses died the men dragged their heavy supply sleds themselves.

Read this superb account to find out the full story. It is gripping.

Sarah Lippett’s illustrations at the head of every chapter enhance the reality of the story and Herbert Ponting’s photographs are astonishing. Take a look at the photo of Dr Atkinson’s frostbite to see what it looks like.

This book like the story of Scott, Bowers, Oates, Wilson and Evans is unforgettable. The last days will bring a tear to your eye.

Wide appeal from primary students through to Young adult.

Gwendolyn by Juliette MacIver, Illus. Terri Rose Baynton

October 31, 2016 Comments off

gwendolinGwendolyn by Juliette MacIver, Illus. Terri Rose Baynton. Pub. HarperCollins, 2016.

The author and illustrator of this super picture book may live a long swim from each others houses but not as far as Gwendolyn has to swim to get back to Antarctica.

Gwendolyn lives in the jungle with her friends Jaguar, Monkey and ¬†Parrot. She is surprisingly the only penguin but she is upbeat and positive about everything until she realises she has never been home. Then she is down and her friends return the positive compliment. That’s what friends are for.

Gwendolyn decides to go back, but will she make it? and if she does will she like the cold?

Great contrast between the two environments in this quick to read story that would be a great read-a-loud to primary children.

Terri Roses’s watercolour illustrations provide lots of detail with lots of colour, in contrast to Antarctica. I loved the bananas and the parrots.

I know where I would prefer to live but will Gwendolyn think the same?