Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hillary & Norgay: To the Top fo Mount Everest, by Heather Whipple

Thank heaven for Heather Whipple and Hillary & Norgay: To the Top of Mount Everest! This is the Everest children's book that all those others are trying to be. It's not over-the-top exciting, but it has relatively accurate information, good formatting and illustrations, and the standard focus on the first ascent pair framed by a general history of climbing Mount Everest.

Whipple brings together a wealth of information relevant to a young reader's introduction to Everest. In addition to biographical information about Hillary and Tenzing, she includes the cartographic history (minor issue: 29,035 did not become the accepted height until 1999), the ethnographic makeup of the area, and the many facets of expedition life, including equipment, weather, health, and load-carrying. She includes many subtleties often overlooked by other children's authors, such as the possible locations of Tenzing's birth or the Sherpa language not having a written form. A couple small problems included her writing that Mallory was the leader of the 1924 expedition, and (now that I've read about the laughs Sherpas get out the mistake) including "yak" rather than "nak" butter in a local recipe. I'm overall impressed by Whipple's attention to detail and her ability to sort through the mass of information available on the mountain. If you're looking for a current kids' introduction to Mount Everest, try this one.

This seems to be my week of Hillarys. I've got one more coming, and then I'll move on to other subjects...I hope!

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