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Review of Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story
by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
Intermediate, Middle School    Calkins/Boyds Mills    192 pp.    g
9/17    978-1-62979-428-0    $17.95
e-book ed.  978-1-62979-915-5    $9.99

Ten thousand people cheered as the steamer Jeannette departed San Francisco, off to the North Pole, in 1879, seeking to expand human knowledge and perhaps find new islands and animal species — maybe even “a lost race of humans, or prehistoric animals” at the “great unknown at the top of the world.” But the Jeannette got stuck in Arctic ice for twenty months, forcing a death march across hundreds of miles of inhospitable land; of the original thirty-three men aboard, only twelve survived. The Wallaces bring to vivid life the exciting tale of Lieutenant Commander George W. De Long, expertly incorporating quotes from his and others’ journals (De Long’s wife Emma posthumously published two volumes of his journals), letters, sketches and engravings, newspaper headlines, paintings, and even lists of rations and the contents of knapsacks, which lend immediacy to the tale. In an epilogue, the authors point out a peculiar irony: “The theory that led to the Jeannette’s demise — that the Arctic held an open polar sea — might someday become a reality because of global warming” and state that the political climate is an obstacle to solving the problem. A fascinating authors’ note lets young readers in on “the thrills of research,” and the thorough back matter includes a bibliography (including primary-source government documents and periodicals), source notes, an index, and picture credits.

From the September/October 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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About Dean Schneider

Dean Schneider teaches seventh and eighth grades at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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