Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey

Nick Bertozzi, Author
Nick Bertozzi. First Second, $16.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-59643-451-6
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Translating historical accounts into the graphic novel format can be an iffy proposal, often reducing the subject to illustrated factual regurgitation, but Bertozzi (Lewis and Clark) compellingly brings readers along for Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914–1915 conquest of the South Pole, just in time for the centennial anniversary of the expedition. After two failed previous attempts to reach the pole, Shackleton and a stalwart crew braved unimaginable desolation, an eight-month stretch with their icebreaker at a standstill, the ship sinking when crushed by tons of thawing ice, and the subsequent trek across 374 miles of frozen wastes. It's an epic true-life adventure, and Bertozzi's storytelling will keep readers riveted as he illustrates the expedition's day-to-day travails in b&w panels as sparse as the stark expanses Shackleton and crew crossed. That bleakness is offset by Bertozzi's depiction of the tenacity, camaraderie, and humor of the men, and it's that spotlighting of the crew's unwavering humanity in the face of icy doom that sets this book apart. A must-read for history buffs and fans of cinema-quality visual storytelling alike. Ages 12–up. (June)
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