cover image Sophie Scott Goes South

Sophie Scott Goes South

Alison Lester. Houghton Mifflin, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-08895-5

Lester’s 2005 journey to Antarctica’s Mawson Station inspired this informative story of a fictional expedition, chronicled through the affable diary entries of a girl named Sophie. The nine-year-old accompanies her father, captain of an Australian icebreaker carrying scientists and supplies to this remote research center. Sophie’s chatty account of life on board the ship reveals a flair for description: “The dining-room portholes go underwater every time the ship does a big roll. It’s like we’re eating inside a washing machine.” Sophie also offers enthusiastic observations of the natural world, as she spots exotically shaped icebergs; penguins, seals, and whales; and the Southern Lights. Graphically, Lester (Noni the Pony) mixes it up, meshing factual illustrations (a cross-section view of the ship, a look at how icebergs are formed) and lighthearted images (the ship’s crew pictured as cut-paper doll chains, penguins wearing bow ties). Photos of Lester’s own Antarctica trip are incorporated throughout, along with pictures that children drew in response to e-mails she sent to schools and families about her voyage. Endpapers packed with historic, geographic, and scientific statistics provide additional info about the continent. Ages 6–9. (Nov.)