Review: Snowcial by Chelsea Prince


Snowcial: An Antarctic Social Network Story by Chelsea Prince, photography by Keoki Flagg and Robert Pittman

This nonfiction book follows the journey of a family to visit the Antarctic Peninsula.  They travel aboard an icebreaker ship that has an ice breaking hull but sails only in warmer temperatures.  Along the way, the children in the family, Anna and Rory explore the ship.  They watch the different birds that follow the ship and find out information on their habitat and how they survive out at sea.  Soon they are seeing icebergs, glaciers and lots of snow and ice.  They also get to visit places where penguins and seals live.  They even spot some killer whales hunting in the ocean.  A mix of science and exploration, this book invites readers along on a journey to an icy world that is full of life.

Price sets just the right tone with her book.  She writes with a merry voice, one that invites children reading the book to learn right alongside her and her characters.  Throughout the book there is a sense of adventure and a strong tie to information and science.  This is a book that teaches in an easy and welcoming way.

While Price sets the tone, the incredible photography from Flagg and Pittman truly capture the setting.  Their close ups of wounded penguins, hunted seals, and the activity of a penguin colony truly allow readers to see Antarctica up close.  Their photography is visually beautiful but also a way to learn more about this incredible place.

Brilliant science nonfiction, join the journey to Antarctica with this gorgeous book.  Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Chelsea Print and Publishing.

Review: Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen

road trip

Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen

This collaboration of father and son is about a road trip to rescue a border collie puppy.  Ben and his father have not been getting along lately.  His father just told Ben that he has quit his job and started to flip houses.  That means that Ben’s hockey camp that he had been promised may not happen this summer.  The road trip is a way for the two of them to spend time together along with their adult border collie, Atticus, and for his dad to avoid his ticked-off mother.  When Ben realizes what is happening, he invites along a friend that his dad doesn’t really approve of.  That friend will not be the last surprise passenger on the trip as they quickly trade their failing truck for a school bus.  Told in alternating chapters, Ben and Atticus explain the journey in their own unique points of view.

This is really a love story to dogs.  Atticus is a huge part of the story, his reactions to people foreshadow what sort of person they will turn out to be.  The use of his perspective is also cleverly done so that his actions are explained to the reader even though the other humans in the book may not fully understand them.  Happily, the various odd characters who join them on their journey are also well drawn and interesting.

The writing is clever and fresh in this slim volume of just over 100 pages.  It is a great pick for reluctant readers.  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.