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Children's LiteratureThis title provides insight into the daily work of scientists exploring Antarctica. The author does a fine job of drawing readers in by using the first several pages to share intriguing facts about Antarctica and the difficulties encountered while exploring the region. Readers learn, for example, that the Antarctic region is a desert where very little snow falls and that many navigational instruments on airplanes do not work there, thus resulting in the need for Air Force pilots who fly in the area to map their route using the stars. When they land, the pilots must keep the engines running out of fear they may not start again. The pilots must also pull up the skis that helped them land on the snow to keep the melted snow that resulted from the touch down from refreezing and trapping the airplane. The author then provides several examples of scientific experiments being conducted in the region, from measurements of air pollution, to historical study, to the search for meteorites, to the quest to discover the age of the universe. A discussion of necessary clothing, gear, and shelters reveals the complexity of such work. Full-color photographs of the area and the scientists who work there enhance the text; the images educate, illustrate, and entertain, even in a world that might seem bleak on the surface. Sure to motivate young explorers. 2006, Millbrook Press, Ages 7 to 12.
—Wendy Glenn, Ph.D.