Traces the life of the English explorer and his exploration of Antarctica.
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Grade 4-6-Short biographies of men of remarkable talents and accomplishments. While much has been written about Smith, Marcovitz manages to include some information not usually included in books for children. Readers may be surprised to learn that Smith had a somewhat checkered career; he was a mercenary for a Spanish cavalry regiment, then fought for the Dutch and also was employed by a Hungarian nobleman. His title of captain was bestowed on him by the Hungarians in a battle against the Turks (who at one point defeated him and sold him into slavery). Unfortunately, this colorful figure never comes to life here. Average-quality reproductions and paintings illustrate the text. Shackleton begins with an account of the explorer's miraculous journey on a 22-foot lifeboat in rough Antarctic seas to save his crew. Readers also learn about his early sea voyages, his connection to other Antarctic explorers, and his ambitions. The use of the explorer's own words provides a glimpse into his sense of leadership and destiny. The text is strengthened by pictures from his ill-fated expedition and other photographs of the terrain and the man. While this book does not give as complete or compelling a picture as Jennifer Armstrong's Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (Crown, 1998), it is a solid introduction.
Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Mt. St. Alban, Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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