Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Conquering Mount Everest, by Robert Sheehan

Robert Sheehan writes a short introduction for young readers to climbing the world's highest mountain in Sensational True Stories: Conquering Mount Everest. He focuses on the two main routes used to the summit, the North Ridge and the South Col, talking about their history, terrain, and the logistics of their ascent. In addition, he discusses the physical geography of the Everest region (including an introduction to plate tectonics), climbing Everest without supplementary oxygen, and a bit about overcrowding and trash on the mountain. Sheehan's history focuses on the most famous climbs of each route----1924 for the North (with a discussion of Mallory and the subsequent discovery of his body), and 1953 for the South (focused on Hillary and Tenzing). He gets the overall stories correct, even if he focuses on the "heroes" of the climbs and gets some small details wrong on the 1953 expedition (number of camps, altitude of highest camp). The book is full of photographic illustrations that tie in well with the prose, with a mix of historical and modern imagery, including great photos of specific locations on the mountain Sheehan describes. The book also includes maps, charts, a glossary, and a comparison of mountains throughout the world. Overall, it's a good effort and a solid introduction for kids to the phenomenon of Everest.

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