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Byrd & Igloo: A Polar Adventure

Byrd & Igloo: A Polar Adventure

by Samantha Seiple

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From the author of Ghosts in the Fog comes a story that will appeal to lovers of history, adventure, and dogs.

BYRD & IGLOO is the first narrative nonfiction book to tell the daring adventures of legendary polar explorer and aviator Richard Byrd and his lovable dog explorer, Igloo. Byrd is known for being the first to fly a plane over the North and South Poles,


From the author of Ghosts in the Fog comes a story that will appeal to lovers of history, adventure, and dogs.

BYRD & IGLOO is the first narrative nonfiction book to tell the daring adventures of legendary polar explorer and aviator Richard Byrd and his lovable dog explorer, Igloo. Byrd is known for being the first to fly a plane over the North and South Poles, while Igloo is famous for being the only dog to explore both the North and South Poles. The adventures of Byrd and Igloo opened the door for science and research in the Antarctic. Featuring direct quotes from letters, diaries and interviews, newspaper clippings, expedition records, maps, charts, as well as never-before-seen photos, it will give the complete story of the explorers' journey. Though rooted in history with evidence from many museums and research centers, Byrd & Igloo will be exciting in tone, making it accessible and interesting for young readers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An amalgam of fact and fancy, this account of three expeditions undertaken by aviator and explorer Richard Byrd serves as both an enthralling adventure and a story of the bond between man and dog. Byrd adopted Igloo in 1926 as he set sail for Norway, wherefrom he attempted to become the first person to fly over the North Pole. Seiple (Ghosts in the Fog) chronicles that mission and Byrd’s hero’s welcome back to the U.S., but ignores the famous controversy over whether Byrd actually reached the North Pole. The author periodically imbues Igloo with human observations and emotions; after his owner’s plane crashes into a snowdrift on takeoff, “Igloo felt utter relief when he saw Byrd climb out of the plane.” Seiple also details his harrowing 1927 trans-Atlantic flight and groundbreaking 1928 expedition to Antarctica. Period photographs appear throughout. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
Take one bold adventurer, mix in one scruffy, little fox terrier, shake it up with trips to the North and South Poles, and you have got an amazing true story of adventure and exploration that middle grade readers will dive into. Igloo was a scrawny abandoned dog wandering the streets of Washington, D.C., when he was rescued and found his way to Admiral Richard E. Byrd, a polar explorer and pioneering aviator determined to be the first person in the world to successfully fly a plane over both the North and South Poles. Reading like a great adventure novel, this biography will take young readers into the heart of the days of exploration in the 1920s. While some question Byrd’s success in the race to be the first to fly over the North Pole, none doubt his claim to be the first to successfully fly over the South Pole. Incorporating fascinating details, direct quotes from letters and newspaper articles, and photographs from the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, among others, Seiple tells the tale of an aviator, adventurer, scientist and explorer and the faithful dog that went with him every step of the way. Young readers will immediately be caught up in the adventure—multiple ships carrying dozens of men, thousands of pounds of supplies, hand-made animal skin polar suits, fights between Igloo and the sled dogs, and fascinating encounters with penguins, to name just a few. While the author often takes liberties in relaying Igloo’s feelings and perspectives in telling the tale (bordering at times on anthropomorphism), the allure of adding a cute dog to a top-notch adventure story will pull young readers in and keep them there to the very end. Reviewer: Kris Sauer; Ages 8 to 12.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Readers learn about Richard E. Byrd's arctic adventures from the point of view of the small dog that accompanied him every step of the way. While some background information is provided about the explorer and aviator's earlier years, Seiple's work primarily focuses on the years between 1926 and 1931 when Byrd's dog, Igloo, was with him and during which time he flew over both the North and South poles. Told in narrative style in brief chapters, their adventures read more like a novel than a history book as a great deal of anthropomorphizing of Igloo's thoughts and feelings are included. However, the use of a dog is an excellent gateway into polar adventure for elementary students and makes it a more compelling read. Much of the book draws from primary sources and includes a number of photographs, adding interest and historical credibility, but it is better suited for general-interest reading than report writing. Overall this is a solid and engaging look at Byrd's explorations that will appeal to children interested in history and adventure.—Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Kirkus Reviews
Framing an explorer's expeditions from the viewpoint of a sidekick pet can engage readers, so long as the animal is not overly humanized. In this case, the descriptions of Adm. Richard Byrd's history-making flights over the South Pole and the North Pole are eye-opening, and they are told in tandem with the story of Igloo, the fox terrier Byrd was given in 1926. The accounts of the yearslong preparations and the details of the extreme weather conditions that derailed Byrd's takeoffs more than once are intense. "It was so cold the eggs were frozen in their shells, and [the cook] had to boil them first before he could fry them." There's even a race within a race as Byrd and Roald Amundsen vie to be the first to the North Pole. Unfortunately, the emotions attributed to Igloo occasionally cross over the thin line between fact and imagination: "Igloo watched in horror as the plane crashed into a snowdrift." What make the account work at all are the many quotations from Byrd and others that are folded into the account. Far too many of these are unattributed within the text, giving them the feel of invented dialogue; despite an impressive source list, nothing in the backmatter verifies them. Black-and-white photos add visual interest, but the scrapbook design that frames them is rather precious. Man and dog versus nature is a good read, but this one needs better navigation. (index, not seen) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
1020L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Samantha Seiple has worked as a competitive intelligence specialist for a Fortune 100 company, professionally as a librarian, and is an experienced researcher, and former production editor and copy editor, in addition to being an author. Her education includes a master's degree in library and information science and a bachelor's degree with a double major in English and journalism. She currently resides in San Diego, where she is a freelance writer.

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