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Children's LiteratureReady for danger, intrigue, and mystery from days gone past? All can be found lurking between the covers of this book that chronicles the search for an elusive northwest passage between Europe and Cathay (China). Searches, from John Cabot's 1497 venture to the 1969 quest of an oil tanker that traveled the entire length of the passage for the first time, are documented in this informative book. The opening chapter however, covers John Franklin's 1845 voyage, which ended with Franklin and crew lost in the freezing Arctic. Chapter two begins with explanations of why a passage was desired and goes on to feature John Cabot's fifteenth century expedition. This set up piques the interest of readers, who upon completing chapter one will want to know more about all the searches that took place. Seagoing and overland searches are featured in this fascinating text. Appearing throughout the book are sidebars labeled as a Source Document. Each contains material penned by actual searchers or by those describing searches. Black and white maps, portraits of search leaders, and vessels used add to the text. Missing from the book are maps needed for reference as the text discusses various searches and many places in the Northwest region. Only one map at the beginning of the book and another part way through actually label some points referred to in the text. Many points appear in text, but are not shown on the two maps. If it is assumed readers will have access to classroom maps of the area, then the readership is limited to students. 2004, Enslow Publishers, Ages 10 to 14.
—Nancy Garhan Attebury