Saturday, August 6, 2011
Epic Climbs: Eiger, K2, Everest, McKinley, Matterhorn
by John Cleare
Kingfisher Books, 2011
Epic Adventures series
It's no surprise that Epic Climbs was written by a photographer and mountaineer. Stunning photographs grace the pages of this high-interest book about five of the world's highest peaks. Each chapter focuses on a different mountain and includes a map, a description of the land, and information about successful and failed attempts to scale the mountains.
Middle grade readers will love the poster sized, fold-out pages that feature photographs of the mountains and include details about the trails and past expeditions. I can picture a group of fifth grade students gathered around a table admiring the huge, fold-out pages. Librarians, have your book tape ready! The pages of this book will need repair after it has circulated several times, and it's a book that will definitely circulate again and again.
Smaller photos on the edges of the pages are framed in white borders and layered on one another like a scrapbook. Each photo is accompanied by a detailed caption in a style similar to the DK Eyewitness series. Charts are effectively used throughout the book to document the names and dates of attempts to reach the summits. Women climbers are featured in a photo layout and on a separate chart.
In addition to the history of mountaineering expeditions, the author includes science related to the mountains. A diagram on page 30 demonstrates how plate tectonics formed Mount Everest. Readers will also be interested to learn that Mount Everest is made of fossilized shells.
Balti Porters from Pakistan are mentioned in the chapter about K2, but I was surprised that Sherpa guides were not included in descriptions of Mount Everest expeditions. Sherpas can be seen posing in a group photo on page 34, but the caption only describes them as "committed, skilled, mountaineers."
Many mountaineering terms, such as bivouac and crevasse, are defined in the glossary in the back of the book. However, the book is missing a bibliography or list of sources used by the author to research the book.
Epic Climbs is sure to be a popular book with kids who love to read about real life adventures! Other books in the Epic Adventures series include Epic Treks, Epic Flights, and Epic Journeys.