Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Himalayas, by Charles W. Maynard

Charles W. Maynard writes a children's book about the geography of the world's highest mountains in Great Mountain Ranges of the World: The Himalayas. He includes a variety of topics, including the Himalayan physical and cultural geography, surveying, climbing Everest, and the Yeti. There's a bit about plate tectonics and how glaciers form valleys, different climate zones and vegetation, and local animals and people, too (as well as a possible mythical hybrid). Everest features prominently throughout the book, including the cover  (an aerial photo of the Southwest Face), its surveying history, its different names, the lack of oxygen at its summit (a misnomer---same amount as everywhere else, just lower air pressure), its height (five years out of date for a book published in 2004), and a little about Sagarmatha National Park. The page on climbing Everest includes the facts that Mallory and Irvine tried to climb it in 1924 and never returned, Hillary and Tenzing made it in 1953, hundreds have made to the top since, and several have died trying. (The illustration labeled Mallory and Irvine is actually a photo of Mallory and Norton from the 1922 expedition). The book is average for kids' nonfiction, with the most readily accessible information (not necessarily the most accurate) presented in a simplified manner with some nice photos and formatting.

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