skip to Main Content

A Race to the South Pole

The Winter Pony is reviewed today by Krista Jefferies.

Iain Lawrence’s The Winter Pony ($16.99, Delacorte Books for Young Readers, ages 9-12) is an adventurous tale of the historic race to the South Pole by two explorers in the early 1900s. While the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, used a team of dogs to help haul his supplies across the icy terrain of Antarctica, Englishman Robert Scott used white ponies, which were his downfall for a number of reasons. Though the story gives small excerpts from the real-life journals of Amundsen and Scott, most of the story is told from the point of view of one of Scott’s ponies, which the men nicknamed Jimmy Pigg.  Jimmy brings us into the mind of a majestic animal helpless to escape the life he was made to bear.

The beginning of the story depicts how the ponies were initially captured from a field and put to work as laborers, hauling heavy cargo and being abused by their masters. The rest of the story describes, as accurately as possible, the hazardous and inhumane experiences of the ponies during this treacherous expedition, the bond they develop with their caretakers along the way, and the heartbreaking outcome for these unique and lovely animals. As a reader I accepted the literary license Lawrence took with some aspects of the storytelling and became invested in the book. I found myself rooting for these animals and hoping they would survive.  Though the reality of the story is quite sad, I did enjoy reading it because of the history it involves and the message it offers to any reader today. It’s a poignant reminder that animals are marvelous creatures of nature that should be cared for, respected, and free.  For some readers, it may inspire them to become animal activists in the future, for others it may arouse an interest in history or geography. Either way, it opens up a great dialogue for young people to have with their parents, as well as an opportunity for kids to develop the gift of empathy.

Share this:

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) Down Deep

covermenorah-under-the-seaHappy Hanukkah! I have been hearing such wonderful things about this new book from Kar-Ben Publishing I had to blog about it. So the first thing I did when I got the galley was to ask my son, Coleman to read it. On a scale of 1 – 4, he enthusiastically rated it a 5!

Menorah Under The Sea by Esther Susan Heller introduces readers to marine biologist, David Ginsburg, at work one December in Antarctica. As The Festival of Lights approaches, Ginsburg wonders how, with constant daylight, he can celebrate menorah-sea-imagethis holiday when we traditionally light candles for eights days at sundown? While he had a portable Hanukkiah, a nine branched Menorah used only at Hanukkah, it was the darkness he sought.

My son and I enjoyed the photographs in this book because they took us down under to explore the sea along with Ginsburg, and in such a colorful way. But most of all, we loved the imaginative way marine biologist Ginsburg created his Menorah from sea urchins and star fish!

menorah-sea-image-2This/These [image[s] from Menorah Under the Sea appear with the permission of Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Minneapolis, MN. Copyright © 2009 by Lerner Publishing Group. For more information, please visit www.karben.com.

Share this:
Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: