HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Trapped by the Ice!: Shackleton’s Amazing Antarctic Adventure
Author and Illustrator: Michael McCurdy
Publisher: Walker Children’s, reprinted in 2002
ISBN-13: 978-0802784384 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0802784380 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0802776334 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0802776337 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 7 – 10
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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McCurdy, Michael. Trapped by the Ice!: Shackleton’s Amazing Antarctic Adventure (published in 1997 by Walker Publishing Company Inc., 435 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014; republished in 2000 by Scholastic Inc., 555 Broadway, New York City, NY 10012). On Oct. 27, 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton had to abandon his ship, the Endurance, and his plan to sled all the way across Antarctica because the ship was destroyed after having become trapped in ice. The complete story of how Shackleton and his entire crew survived and were rescued is told for older readers in Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. The early days of the voyage and confinement on ship are recounted for a slightly younger set from the perspective of the ship’s cat in Mrs. Chippy’s Last Expedition: The Remarkable Journal of Shackleton’s Polar-Bound Cat by Caroline Alexander.
Alexander’s account ends on Oct. 29, when Mrs. Chippy perished, and Trapped by the Ice! basically picks up the tale for beginning readers at that point and carries it on through their survival on the ice, the crew’s voyage on the three small boats to uninhabited Elephant Island, Shackleton’s further voyage to the whaling station on South Georgia Island arriving on May 20, 1916, and their ultimate rescue without the loss of any human life. The narration is illustrated with realistic paintings of landscapes, ice, and ocean, based on stills taken by Shackleton’s photographer. It is a good introduction for kids to Shackleton’s expedition, skipping some of the details that might not be of interest to them.