Friday, January 7, 2011

The World's Most Amazing Mountains, by Michael Hurley

I know I talked about seeking out the rare gems of my local library's collection last post, but I got in line for this book in September, and it showed up this week, so it's going in the blog! Michael Hurley gives young readers his top ten list of spectacular mountains in his The World's Most Amazing Mountains. His book includes the Seven Summits (choosing Mount Cook instead of Carstenz Pyramid or Kosciuszko), Table Mountain, the Matterhorn, and K2. Hurley gives a brief introduction to mountains, and then has two-page spreads on each of the ten mountains. He uses each spread to give a little information about the mountain, and uses each mountain to teach a little more about mountains in general. Additionally, each entry contains the location, height, first successful climb, and a bit of trivia about the mountain. There is also a summary and a glossary at the end of the book.

On Everest, Hurley talks a little bit about its formation, its name, and about the first successful climb. He mentions that Everest is a fold mountain and that it's still growing. He gives the survey and naming of the mountain a couple sentences and then mentions that Hillary and Tenzing were the first to climb Everest in 1953. In his trivia, he mentions a translation of Chomolungma I had not heard before: "goddess of the valley."

Overall, Hurley gets his facts straight, and he manages to keep the story of mountains going while talking about a different mountain every two pages. The book's information is altogether minimal, but relatively accurate. It seems to me that a lot of space that could have been used to either enlarge the photographic illustrations (which were overall nice pictures) or provide more of the quality information Hurley shares has been spent on trendy formatting that will likely date the book in ten to twenty years. This book is flashy and fun, but I worry that Hurley has possibly worked too hard to cater to a short attention span.

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