Sacred Mountain: Everest

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Mount Everest has been written about in many ways, but here is an unusual presentation: a natural history of the mountain, rendered clearly and accessibly for young readers. The book opens with an affectionately chosen epigraph from a Zen master: "Although mountains belong to the nation, mountains really belong to people who love them." The depth and the urgency of this love are both shown in the many facets of this book. A two-page map spread orients the reader to the region, showing the location of Nepal and Mount Everest in the context of the Indian subcontinent as well as the subcontinent itself on a smaller physical globe. Amusingly, the disputed northern boundaries of India are tactfully avoided by the placement of that globe! An inset physical map of the vicinity of the mountain shows some of the places referred to in the book. The narrative opens with an account of the Sherpa clans without whom no ascent of the mountain would be possible. The painstaking measurement of the mountain by its British surveyor Sir George Everest finds mention, a subject so exhaustive it could practically merit its own book! A social and cultural geography of the region is included, as well as highlights of its rare flora and amazing wildlife. A history of ascents of the mountain includes George Mallory's failed attempts and Edmund Hillary's successful climb. Finally, the author does not flinch from the dreaded effects of climate change, which are shrinking the sacred glaciers at such a pace that if we do nothing they will all be gone in fifty years. Sidebars elaborate on such interesting subjects as the worship of the goddess Miyolangsangma who is said to live on the slopes of the mountain, "TheMysterious Yeti" who is also held by legend to be a denizen of the landscape, the legacy of mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, and more. A glossary and pronunciation guide round out the book. A comprehensive bibliography and web resources are offered for teachers and other interested adults, while the full-color pictures should hit the spot with young nonfiction readers. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Taylor-Butler combines an introduction to Everest's Sherpa residents with a history of climbing expeditions on the fabled mountain and the contemporary ecological damage caused by tourism. She chronicles the early climbing efforts of the 1920s and 1930s and those by Sherpas and outsiders since the initial success of Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. The informative text is amply illustrated with well-chosen black-and-white and color photographs. It concludes by describing some of the conservation efforts now being employed. Children are apt to find Jonathan Chester's The Young Adventurers' Guide to Everest (Tricycle, 2005) and Laurie Skreslet's autobiographical To the Top of Everest (Kids Can, 2001) more appealing reading, but this serviceable compendium will be a useful supplement.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Older books on Everest tended to concentrate on the story of New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay's historic ascent. This new book, with photos showing climbers from 1920 to 2008 and glimpses into the lives of the long-term inhabitants of the region, emphasizes the relationship of the Sherpa to the mountain they call Chomolungma, "Goddess Mother of the World." Living for many centuries in the Himalayas, the Sherpa have adapted to the climate and the land and learned to use their limited resources. They have continued to embrace the Buddhist religion, and some of the most interesting photos picture religious practices. Taylor-Butler effectively describes the efforts of Nepal's government, Tenzing Norgay's sons and other Sherpa and several foundations dedicated to the preservation of the region and its people to keep the mountain environmentally safe while more and more climbers from many countries tackle one of the greatest challenges on earth. Unfortunately there is no index, but for young armchair travelers who may make the climb someday, this mixture of science, geography, culture and the original extreme sport is irresistible. (glossary, author's sources and websites) (Nonfiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781600602559
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 7 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1020L (what's this?)

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    Posted March 26, 2009

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