Friday, March 29, 2019

Locked in Ice

Lourie,Peter. Locked in Ice
January 29th 2019 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Ever hear of the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen (1861 -1930)? I hadn't either. Interested in outdoor sports like skiing and hiking from a young age, Nansen had the family background to be allowed to study marine biology. Enthralled by the exploring going on in the 1880s, he managed to assemble a team to cross Greenland on sleds, becoming the first people to do so. Thinking ever more grandiose plans, he managed to get financial backing to attempt to reach the North Pole, utilizing a previously undiscovered ocean current to move his ship, the Fram, along. Because of the volatile weather, he seized on a plan to encase the ship in ice and float to his destination. His ship was well built, his supply list complete, and his food innovative (meat chocolate, anyone?). Surprisingly, his plan didn't work, and he and another crew member, Johansen, took off with sled dogs and three sledges to try to traverse the 200 plus miles to their goal. This was in equal parts dangerous and boring, and the dogs that they brought for travel weakened and died. Standard practice at the time was to feed the dogs to their companions. Short of their goal but running out of food, they turned toward civilization and made it back alive. It took time to get news of the Fram, but the ship and crew also survived. After his adventures, Nansen went on to be a diplomat, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with displaced people after World War I, and is considered a national hero.
Strengths: This is a good length, and offsets the details of planning with adventure. Amazingly, Nansen had a camera with him that he even took on his sled adventure, so there are a number of pictures, many of the dogs! They may have not treated them in the way we would today (there are great notes in the back about a 1986 expedition), but I definitely think there was a soft spot for them. Like this author's Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush, this was page turning nonfiction.
Weaknesses: There seem to be a disproportionate number of books about arctic exploration, and my students never actually ask for it. They can be persuaded to read about it, however.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and I can see a number of readers enjoying this one.

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of Lost in the Antarctic. I feel for the sled dogs of this time.