Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: narrative nonfiction
What did you like about the book? This is the fascinating, true story of the Jeannette, a ship that attempted to reach the North Pole in 1879, but instead was caught in ice for 20 months. The men on the ship, including two Yup’ik hunters and dogsled drivers, had to survive unbearable cold, dwindling fuel and food sources and incredible boredom. Eventually the ship sank and they had to travel across the ice and water to try to reach Siberia and safety. Not everyone survived. I was fascinated by this read and loved all the primary source material in the book, which included journal entries, telegrams, menus and more. It was really interesting to see how the press at the time treated the venture. Even when the ship had been gone for months with no contact home, many newspapers published speculative reports that the ship was just fine and had surely reached the North Pole (talk about fake news!). In addition, the captain and his men relied on false information from an “esteemed geologist” who believed the northern regions were free from ice and that what ice there was at the North Pole was even free from salt and drinkable. The research for this book is impeccable with extensive source notes, a bibliography and an excellent index, as well as appropriate, interesting images scattered throughout. Moreover, the book is narrative nonfiction at its best with cliffhangers, suspense and foreshadowing. Highly recommended!
To whom would you recommend this book? Students who love adventure or who are interested in exploration will love this book!
Anything you didn’t like about it? No; it’s a quick, fascinating read
Who should buy this book? All middle schools
Where would you shelve it? nonfiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Date reviewed: December 20, 2017