Friday, December 10, 2010

The Young Adventurer's Gudie to Everest, by Jonathan Chester

I've taken a look back over my blog, and I believe I need to come a compromise on the overall length on my posts. I liked the detail of my first posts, but I found it impossible to get much reading done when I was writing so much. Additionally, I found it hard to get enough detail in and remember all the details when I was covering three to seven books in a single post. So, I'm going to try one book to a post for a while, and see if that fits me better.

Jonathan Chester's The Young Adventurer's Guide to Everest: From Avalanche to Zopkio is an alphabet book for older children based on the modern guided expedition up the Western Cwm and the Southeast Ridge. Chester took plenty of photographs during the National Federation of the Blind 2001 Everest Expedition in which Erik Weihenmayer reached the top. He shares these along with a wealth of advice for getting to the top of the world's highest mountain.

The book is arranged alphabetically, with a topic for each letter of the alphabet. Chester includes topics anywhere from underwear and down suits to frostbite and Sherpas, and he gives a detailed description of each. Each of the entries has one or more photographs accompanying it that are generally interesting and well-taken. At the end, he also includes a glossary and a range of sources for young climbers.

The Young Adventurer's Guide to Everest is an overall great book. The quality of the information is first-rate and it is written in such a way that should give the average reader some new words to learn beyond the glossary terms. Chester does a good job of explaining the ups and downs of climbing a mountain, both from an adventurer's point of view and from an ecological and cultural perspective. He understands his audience, and explains that there is a lot of training and a lot of mountains to climb before approaching a mountain such as Everest. He also says that Everest is within reach, and encourages kids to dream big.

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