"Kimmel tells the exciting story well; the riveting adventure may inspire further interest in history and exploration." Kirkus Reviews
"...Most of the important background is here, along with maps and some of Frank Hurley's extraordinary expedition photos. The lucid overview is likely to encourage readers to pursue other books on the subjectperhaps some of the adult ones Kimmel includes in her bibliography." Booklist, ALA
The elements of the story make for fascinating reading: a courageous and inspiring leader; a foundered ship swallowed by ice; a stalwart crew stranded on shifting ice floes; a final, daring-beyond-description rescue effort in an open boat through eight hundred miles of hurricane-blown seas and on foot over an uncharted mountain range.... Kimmel focuses more narrowly on Shackleton and the key members of the crew; she has chosen to forgo dialogue and diary quotes and focus on the action. The inherent drama of the tale is such that it shines through Kimmel's pared-down telling...
Kimmel's compelling account presents the arresting tale of Sir Ernest Shackleton's doomed 1914 expedition to traverse the continent of Antarctica, for a slightly younger audience than Jennifer Armstrong's Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (Children's Forecasts, Jan. 25). Kimmel's chronicle contains considerably fewer anecdotes and journal excerpts than Armstrong's denser volume, yet the events of the shipwreck of the Endurance, the men's encampment on an ice pack and Shackleton's trek across South Georgia on foot, resulting in the survival of all 27 of his crew, are just as gripping here. Kimmel delves somewhat more deeply into Shackleton's personal life, fashioning a credible and affectionate portrait of this indefatigable explorer. The volume's relatively short chapters and strategic arrangement of photographs to break up blocks of text will make for smooth reading for kids on the younger edge of the intended audience. A deftly distilled recounting of an extraordinary story. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bring them back alive? Despite overwhelming odds, Ernest Shackleton did in 1915, when his 28-man crew became ice-bound in Antarctica. Elizabeth Cody Kimmel called his Endeavor Expedition "the greatest misadventure the world has ever known." In Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (Crown, '99), Jennifer Armstrong dubbed it "one of the most incredible feats of survival ever recorded." Whichever spellbinding account you read, however, no superlative will seem to describe adequately the fortitude, stamina, seamanship, and--all told--sheer good luck of the men who unsuccessfully attempted to be the first to cross Antarctica, coast to coast. I strongly recommend both for your collection. Each has details absent from the other, and as you know, one book on a subject is never enough.
Children's Literature - Dr. Beverly Kobrin
This is the ultimate survival story. And it's made all the more riveting because it is true. Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic adventurer, wanted to be the first to cross Antarctica on foot. His charismatic personality helped him secure the funds, supplies, and crew needed to make the attempt in 1914-on the eve of World War I. His expedition was, as the subtitle suggests, not successful. In fact, Shackleton and his crew were marooned when their ship was frozen in the polar pack ice before it even reached Antarctica. What happens next to Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. If it is possible to read an entire book without breathing, this would be the book. There are actual photographs to prove that the unbelievable really happened. And without giving too much away, the lessons presented about perseverance, optimism, and resourcefulness make the book much more suitable for younger readers than the situation suggests.
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
Gr 4-8-Having been beaten in his quest to be the first man to stand on the South Pole, Sir Ernest Shackleton set off in 1914 to cross the continent of Antarctica. He ultimately failed, but the saga of his attempt, in which his ship was frozen in ice and sunk, and yet no human lives were lost, makes a thrilling and terrifying tale. Utilizing Shackleton's memoirs and original expedition photographs, Kimmel re-creates events in exciting detail. She puts the story in historical perspective by comparing the exploration of Antarctica to the exploration of space, which plays a part in making this an accessible but not oversimplified account. After presenting a brief background about Antarctic explorers and introducing several of the primary members of the crew, the author then describes how the 28 men survived months of frostbite, penguin stew, and boredom, while hoping for rescue. Shackleton is depicted as a brave and responsible leader whose first concern was always the welfare of his men, yet who still had his own weaknesses. There has been a surge of information about this expedition lately, and this is a worthy addition to the group. Readers will cheer the endurance and ultimate survival of these adventurers while learning about history.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL
Ernest Shackleton's extraordinary 1914-1916 Antarctic expedition was, in Jennifer Armstrong's words, "one of the most incredible feats of survival ever recorded." The elements of the story make for fascinating reading: a courageous and inspiring leader; a foundered ship swallowed by ice; a stalwart crew stranded on shifting ice floes; a final, daring-beyond-description rescue effort in an open boat through eight hundred miles of hurricane-blown seas and on foot over an uncharted mountain range. Each of these captivating accounts should find an audience-Armstrong's for the detail-oriented, want-to-know-it-all kind of reader, Kimmel's for the reader interested mostly in the highlights. Armstrong's book is far better supported by maps, charts, and lists; her complete account identifies and tracks practically every crew member and liberally employs quotes from crew diaries. Kimmel focuses more narrowly on Shackleton and the key members of the crew; she has chosen to forgo dialogue and diary quotes and focus on the action. Both books include a stunning array of photographs, by expedition photographer Frank Hurley, lending startling immediacy to the story. The inherent drama of the tale is such that it shines through both Kimmel's pared-down telling and Armstrong's more novelistic approach. Here's Armstrong's riveting account of the most exciting and risky "sled" ride in history-four men faced with the choice of hurtling down an unknown slope or freezing to death on a mountain peak: "Below them the snowy slope disappeared in the darkness. They had no idea where it ended, if it dropped off into space or came to rest in a snowfield....'What if we hit a rock?' Crean asked. 'Can we stay where we are?' Shackleton replied. 'What if the slope doesn't level off?' Worsley wondered aloud. Shackleton's voice rose a bit. 'Can we stay where we are?' The men had no answer for him." Shackleton's amazing story is well served in both these exceptional titles; Jennifer Armstrong's book is a must-purchase. Each book includes an index and a bibliography.
Another well-researched, well-written entry in a recent spate of books (Jennifer Armstrong's Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, 1999), articles, and exhibitions about the amazing survival of the crew of the Endurance. As in the Armstrong book, Kimmel recounts the efforts of Sir Ernest Shackleton's team, who set out in 1914 to cross the Antarctic continent, but ended up trapped in the ice in a ship which was slowly crushed, then made a painful journey to rescue across ice floes, storm-tossed seas, and a mountain range said to be impassable. With larger photographs and typeface-and fewer novelistic flourishes-than the Armstrong book, this version is appropriate for the middle-grade audience. Kimmel tells the exciting story well; the riveting adventure may inspire further interest in history and exploration. (index, not seen, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-12) .