________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 15 . . . . March 29, 2002

cover To the Top of Everest.

Laurie Skreslet and Elizabeth MacLeod.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2001.
56 pp., cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 1-55074-721-5.

Subject Headings:
Mountaineering-Everest, Mount (China and Nepal)-Juvenile literature.
Everest, Mount (China and Nepal)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Janice Foster.

***1/2 /4


Today I travel across North America speaking to groups about our Everest climb. Often I imagine seeing the four climbers who died on Everest at the back of the audience. I know they appear to remind me to tell our story with the same passion and conviction we'd all put into that climb.

On October 5, 1982, Laurie Skreslet realized his dream of climbing the world's highest mountain. He became the first Canadian ever to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. In his first book for children, Skreslet, together with author Elizabeth MacLeod, provides readers with a gripping personal narrative of the dangers and challenges of this undertaking. The narrative sequence allows the armchair climber or the aspiring mountaineer to experience the preparations, the slow and at times discouraging progress as well as the failures and successes of this expedition. Skreslet's account is more than a recounting of his achievement. His evident passion and conviction connect the reader with the climber's intimate emotions, such as fear, elation, grief and excitement. Throughout the narration, the author's reverence for the power of the mountain and his respect for the Sherpas who assist in this venture are evident. Readers, young and old alike, find themselves part of this thrilling journey to the top of Everest.

inside art

     To the Top of Everest offers its readers more than a chapter-by-chapter account of Laurie Skreslet's expedition. The narrative text is enhanced by numerous photographs that add interest and visual explanations. Photos of the glaciers and the crevices assist the reader in understanding the dangers of the terrain. Candid shots of daily activities and pictures of the equipment help to clarify Skreslet's account. Blue text boxes interspersed throughout the book provide clear, brief explanations of other aspects of the journey with eye-catching headings such as "Avalanche!", "The Yeti" and "Dealing with Fear." The text is written in a clear, interesting style which readily engages the reader. A glossary explains climbing terminology, and the Internet address at the end provides another source of information on this heroic Canadian.

     To the Top of Everest is more than an account of the dangers and obstacles of climbing Mount Everest. In his narration of the 1982 expedition, Laurie Skreslet shows that commitment, bravery and endurance, when combined with teamwork, careful planning and determination, can overcome obstacles and fear of failure. In reaching his goal to climb to the top of the world's highest mountain, Skreslet inspires others to use those same attributes to reach their dreams. This is a story that will appeal to readers of all ages and is told in a format that will hold the interest of even the reluctant reader.

Highly Recommended.

Janice Foster is a teacher-librarian at Oakenwald Elementary School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364