Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Top of the World, by Mary Ann Fraser

Mary Ann Fraser writes and illustrates Hillary and Tenzing's final climb to the summit of Everest in On Top of the World: The Conquest of Mount Everest. She describes in pretty good detail their experiences, from the establishment of Camp IX on the Southeast Ridge to their reaching the top. Along the way, she describes previous events, such as their approach and the first summit attempt by Bourdillon and Evans, and explains many of the tools they use to climb, such as crampons and their oxygen system. At the end, she tells a bit about the history of climbing Everest (where she makes here only true mistake, stating that women first climbed Everest in 1989, rather than 1975, and that the first to do it were Americans, rather than Japanese and Chinese (Tibetan)), including political access to different sides of the mountain over the years, a bit about Mallory and Irvine, and a few subsequent climbs. Notably, she is careful to present Hillary and Tenzing's success as a group effort, both within their team and across history. The illustrations depict the climbers fairly well, though Everest's landscape is a bit awkward at times. They add drama to the story and do a good job tying into the storyline. Overall, Fraser creates a great book for kids interested in the first ascent of the world's highest mountain.

This post is a revision and expansion of an earlier entry, found here.

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