Friday, 28 February 2014

ReadItDaddy's Birthday Book of the Week - Week Ending 28th February 2014 - "Shackleton's Journey" by William Grill (Flying Eye Books)

Shackleton's Journey

Written and Illustrated by
William Grill

Published by Flying Eye Books

Muhahaha! I get to choose a Birthday Book of the Week this week, but thankfully despite a very tough choice both Charlotte and I agreed on this one.

Flying Eye Books hit our "Book of the Week" slot consistently during 2013 with a series of fascinating and brilliant books. It looks like they're set to do exactly the same in 2014 too. We've had our eye on "Shackleton's Journey" for quite some time, presenting a factual account of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton's ambitious expedition to cross Antarctica from sea to sea via the South Pole. Presenting history in a way that children will both understand and engage with is a very neat trick if you can pull it off. William Grill's approach is to effectively present the expedition and the run-up to Shackleton's departure in a deconstruction of the mission, the preparation and the eventual fate of Shackleton and his crew.

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was a huge undertaking, requiring funding and sponsorship, and vast quantities of resources - let alone a trusty vessel capable of making the long journey far south. In this centenary year of the beginning of the voyage, it's a great opportunity to read a book that can spur the imaginations of children to think about what life must've been like in an era where there were still one or two places left unexplored in the world.

Setting sail on the Endurance (Images © William Grill / Flying Eye Books)

Though previous expeditions (including those by Robert Falcon Scott - a mission Shackleton was sent home early from on health grounds, and Roald Amundsen) had already reached Antarctica and the South Pole, no one had attempted to cross the entire continent. Already a veteran of several polar expeditions, Shackleton gathered his crew and a sturdy vessel, the Endurance, and set sail.

William Grill's book provides brilliant illustrations to draw children in, and then sets out an exciting pace as each stage of the expedition unfolds.

99 dogs were needed for the expedition. We swiftly skipped past one or two of the names! (Images © William Grill / Flying Eye Books)
As with all books of this nature, they satisfy an enquiring mind up to a point, so it's been great to dive onto the internet and find out a little more about Shackleton and the mission itself, and the hardships involved 100 years ago when embarking on such a perilous quest.

It's an amazing book and it's going to be one of those books that we come back to again and again. Testament to how brilliant this is for a range of ages is that my mother in law asked to borrow it once we'd finished reading it!

Charlotte's best bit: Completely fascinated and bewitched by this book, really immersive and fantastic for her. 

Daddy's Favourite bit: Such a beautifully presented book detailing a fascinating glimpse of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition

(Kindly sent to us for review by Bounce / Flying Eye Books)