Black Whiteness: Admiral Byrd Alone in the Antarctic

Overview

In 1934, Admiral Richard Byrd spent an entire winter by himself in a small cabin in Antarctica, recording the weather and confronting life, completely alone, in harsh conditions. Robert Burleigh “paints mesmerizing word pictures” (Booklist) that are supplemented with excerpts from Admiral Byrd’s firsthand account of how he survived. This riveting account was named an Orbis Pictus Honor Book and includes dramatic, full-color illustrations capture the courage of Byrd’s amazing ...

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Overview

In 1934, Admiral Richard Byrd spent an entire winter by himself in a small cabin in Antarctica, recording the weather and confronting life, completely alone, in harsh conditions. Robert Burleigh “paints mesmerizing word pictures” (Booklist) that are supplemented with excerpts from Admiral Byrd’s firsthand account of how he survived. This riveting account was named an Orbis Pictus Honor Book and includes dramatic, full-color illustrations capture the courage of Byrd’s amazing ordeal.

An account of Admiral Richard Byrd's stay alone in a small shack during an antarctic winter.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Burleigh (Flight) turns his attention from Charles A. Lindbergh to Admiral Richard Byrd in this picture book charting of the explorer's solo Antarctic sojourn. Burleigh's account follows Byrd to the underground hut where he lived for nearly six months, beginning in March 1934, and made scientific observations about his surroundings. Krudop's (Something Is Growing) evocative oil paintings, with their swirling brushstrokes and chilly palette of subdued blues, grays and blacks, suggest the remote continent's frozen landscape. The alien world is enthralling, with its cold so extreme that ice coats Byrd's sleeping bag and he can hear his breath freeze as it floats away, "making a sound like firecrackers." Burleigh's vivid descriptions, combined with lively excerpts from Byrd's journal, allow readers to experience it almost firsthand; they can feel for themselves the "eerie silence" in which Byrd lived, sense his panic at being trapped outside in a blizzard and cheer him on in his courageous struggle to survive carbon monoxide poisoning. Vigorously written and gracefully illustrated, this lively snapshot of one of the 20th century's most intrepid scientists records a landmark event rarely examined in children's books. Ages 7-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
The power of poetic text and picture book art combine to transport adults and any child old enough to grasp the concepts of arctic climate, exploration, record keeping, and aloneness into this telling of "Admiral Byrd alone in the Arctic." For nearly six months in 1934, that was Byrd's chosen world. Beyond daily weather recording, he wanted to experience living totally alone amid extreme cold and blackness relieved only by flashlight, lantern, and a small gas lamp. "Byrd had given a hard and fast order not to come back for him until a month before the sun returns." Yet, even when crippled by carbon monoxide poisoning, his training and will of mission supported survival and a last push to light a flare to guide the tractor through the Arctic night to reach him.
Children's Literature - Dr. Beverly Kobrin
In 1934, Admiral Richard Byrd spent six month at Antarctica's first inland base--a below the surface, four-stride-wide, weather station-hut. Robert Burleigh's spare account of Byrd's experiment in "frost and darkness as complete as that of the Ice Age," excerpts from his diary, and Walter Lyon Krudop's paintings vividly portray the intrepid explorer's almost fatal adventure in Black Whiteness. An experience, Byrd wrote, that heightened "the sheer beauty and miracle of being alive."
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4Byrd's solitary sojourn at Little America during the unimaginably cold, dark Antarctic winter of 1934 is captured in a lyrical text strengthened by dramatic, impressive paintings. For almost six months, Byrd endured that frozen desert with none of the comforts today's Antarctic scientists enjoy, while accumulations of carbon monoxide seeped into his very bones. This simply written version, embellished with slightly edited quotes from Byrd's personal record, Alone (Putman, 1938; o.p.), reveals to young readers the determination and courage of a human spirit's persistent survival under horrific conditions. Using Black Whiteness with Michael McCurdy's Trapped by the Ice (Walker, 1997) would add an extremely human touch to classroom studies of the antarctic, and demonstrate the risks taken by scientific explorers in the early 20th century.Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442453340
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 11/5/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 577,249
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Burleigh is the award-winning author of many books for children, including The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huckleberry Finn, illustrated by Barry Blitt; Night Flight, illustrated by Wendell Minor; and Black Whiteness, illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop. His many other books include Hoops; Stealing Home; and Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! He lives in Michigan.

Walter Lyon Krudop was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1966. He had his first painting lesson when he was eight years old and later studied illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has illustrated a number of books for young readers, including The Good-Night Kiss and Wake Up, Little Children by Jim Aylesworth; Black Whiteness by Robert Burleigh; and Crossing the Delaware by Louise Peacock. He lives with his wife, Sara, in New York City.

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