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Antarctic Journal: Four Months at the Bottom of the World Hardcover – December 26, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (December 26, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060285869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060285869
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine if you were given a grant by the National Science Foundation to spend four months in Antarctica to sketch, take pictures, and write home to friends and family. Antarctic Journal is the record of Jennifer Owings Dewey's trek to the bottom of the world: "a planet as remote as the moon in its own way," she writes. Antarctica, home to 100 million penguins, has ice up to three miles thick, covering 98 percent of the land. The author writes her account of this icy-cold adventure at Palmer Station in an accessible journal, sprinkled with letters home and colored-pencil sketches and photographs of various landscapes and Arctic creatures. Discussions of penguin behavior are interrupted by the history of Gondwanaland and continental drift, while snippets about trying to cook krill (the tiny phytoplankton that blue whales eat) in garlic and butter add a comic and personal touch to her adventure. Descriptions of the "green flash" that happens just before sunset, red tide, and a mirage effect called the "fata morgana" (named after the fairy Morgan who built castles in the air) are sure to intrigue and inspire young explorers. This is a charming, personable introduction to a forbidding, fascinating continent. (Ages 8 to 12) --Karin Snelson

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-Readers get a glimpse of an artist's four-month stay in Antarctica through her sketches and photos, journal entries, and letters home. Her personal experiences (having Ad?lie penguins examine her typewriter, falling into a crevasse on a glacier) are interspersed with facts about the history, landforms, weather, and life of Antarctica. The combination of softly colored sketches and photos is effective, although the photos are small and some lack crispness. A great deal of fascinating information is included in the text, which flows easily from fact bites to narrative. The book is similar to Sophie Webb's My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal (Houghton, 2000). Both artists spent one season in Antarctica learning, sketching, and writing. Both mix fact with personal experience. Because Webb is also a scientist and her interest is penguins, her book has a tighter focus. Dewey's title gives more general information about the continent. (Webb's book is assigned to the 500s; Dewey's to the 900s.) Neither title has an index, and, although both are short enough for researchers to skim, they are both meant to be read cover to cover. Libraries already owning Webb's book will want to consider Antarctic Journal as well because of its broader scope. Fans of Antarctica will want to read both.
Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A. Powell on August 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jennifer Owings Dewey spent four months in Antarctic sketching and photographing wildlife, and writing this wonderful book about the “last great wilderness on earth.” The trip was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The book jacket claims that it is appropriate for age 7 and up… well perhaps for a precocious child. I think that ( ) has it right. Age 9 to 12 seems more appropriate.
Written as a cross between a diary and letters home, and interspersed with drawings, and photographs, this is a small, almost intimate book. I read the “Antarctic Journal” out loud to my 11 year-old daughter. We talked about each journal entry or letter home, and looked at all the pictures together. We were introduced to the Adelie penguins, nesting gentoos, blue whales, Weddell seals, and krill. We were given a little history lesson starting 200 million years ago with Gondwanaland, and many lessons in nature. Antarctic has only one year-round land-resident, a mite. It’s the size of a pinhead. Also, male and female penguins share parenting, and they are absolutely devoted parents. A “parent penguin suffering heat stroke will not abandon its nest. It will fall dead in a heap first.” Antarctica has its own etiquette. Human visitors to Antarctica are not allowed to touch any wildlife. However, penguins did check out the author, her clothes, and typewriter.
So many nature books are dry. This one is clever, well written, and interesting. It is a wonderful addition to our home library. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 9, 2005
Format: Library Binding
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in Antarctica? The author lived there for four months. She wrote a book about her life in Antarctica called Antarctic Journal: Four Months at the Bottom of the World. In Antarctica she saw many animals like penguins, ice fish, whales, and elephant seals. Ice fish have special blood that won't freeze because they live in very cold water. She lived at Palmer Station on Anvers Island. While she was there she drew a lot of pictures of the animals and landscape. I learned many interesting things about Antarctica. For example; there are one hundred million penguins. No humans live there. It is five and a quarter million square miles. It's bigger than Europe. In Antarctica the sun is always shining. I think you should read this book because it has a lot of interesting information about Antarctica and a lot of pictures of animals.
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By Alessandra Apsley on December 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is amazing. I love this writer! My boys love all of her books! Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences with us Jennifer O Dewey!
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