Wednesday, December 22, 2010

First Up Everest, by Styles & Briggs

First Up Everest is a moment-by-moment story for young readers of Hillary and Tenzing's trip from Camp IX to the top of the world written by Showell Styles and illustrated by Raymond Briggs. This is a book framed around the illustrations, and even on the cover, Briggs is listed first. The illustrations are dramatic and full, and I especially appreciate Briggs' efforts for accuracy in both costume and equipment. The mountain is not always to scale, but Briggs uses scale to illustrate Hillary's and Tenzing's fears and emotions. Showell Styles matches Briggs' sense of drama, and he is a stickler for technical accuracy. It was, however, occasionally hard for me to get over his patronizing attitude of Tenzing, such as when he calls him "a little Sherpa" or says that he was helped up the final step with Hillary's "heavy tugs" on the rope. Overall this is a fun and exciting book, but it's not something to hand to kids if you are trying to raise them with a high level of cultural sensitivity.

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