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Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past Hardcover – October 6, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5–8—Deem's lucid account explores mummified remains recovered from several glacial locations and time periods. The many discoveries presented include the famous 5300-year-old Alpine Iceman Ötzi, the mummified Incan children of the Andes Mountains, and the identification of George Mallory's body on Mount Everest. The background and methodology of glaciology are examined, as are relevant issues in climate change and archaeology; historical photographs of glaciers are compared to modern photographs of the same, much-receded ice. Full-color photographs, reproductions, and maps are clearly captioned; grand images of glaciated mountain peaks span entire pages, and detailed pictures of recovered objects, including the mummies themselves, the Iceman's ax, and surviving fabric fragments are presented. To nitpick one point, Deem states that scientists "don't understand" why the Ice Age glaciers retreated, instead of mentioning the Milankovitch cycles as a consensus explanation. Nonetheless, this volume provides updated information, including new insights into the causes of the Iceman Ötzi's death. With its extensive bibliography, suggested Web sites, and a listing of glaciers to visit, Bodies is a fantastic resource. Deem superbly weaves diverse geographical settings, time periods, and climate issues into a readable work that reveals the increasing interdisciplinary dimensions of the sciences.—Jeff Meyer, Slater Public Library, IA
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From Booklist

There are books about melting glaciers and books about frozen bodies, but this attractive offering combines the topics in a way that will intrigue readers. It begins with a chance discovery by walkers in northern Italy who find a thawing corpse originally thought to be from the 1800s. Scientists later realized the body was more than 5,000 years old. As glaciers melt throughout the world, more frozen bodies are appearing, adding greatly to the knowledge researchers have about history and culture. Individual chapters cover types of glaciers and why they are fertile territory for housing bodies; the Chamonix glacier, which saw women climbers in the early 1800s; and the mystery of George Mallory, who died trying to climb Mt. Everest. Perhaps most fascinating to kids will be the chapter on recently discovered Incan children sacrificed to the gods. The pictures of these children, looking as though they might be sleeping, are arresting. Heavily illustrated with historical memorabilia as well as photos of bodies, scenery, artifacts, and rather simplistic maps, this offers a lot to look at and learn about. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1180L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061880045X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618800452
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James M. Deem is the author of numerous books of nonfiction and fiction for children, including the 2009 Sibert Honor Book, BODIES FROM THE ICE: MELTING GLACIERS AND THE RECOVERY OF THE PAST. His latest book, THE PRISONERS OF BREENDONK: PERSONAL HISTORIES FROM A WORLD WAR II CONCENTRATION CAMP, is the first English-language book about this little-known Belgian camp.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, he has lived in Kansas, Michigan, New York, and Arizona. He earned a Bachelor's degree in language arts from the University of Kansas and a master's degree and doctorate in reading education at the University of Michigan. For twenty-seven years, he taught reading and study skills to underprepared college students. He and his wife live in Tucson, Arizona, where he writes fulltime.


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lori Calabrese "Children's Books Examiner" VINE VOICE on July 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deen delves into glaciers, global warming, and yes, frozen bodies! This is a very unique book in that it takes a look at something you wouldn't normally think of when it comes to global warming--how many frozen bodies have been found in the melting ice.

In 1991 a husband and wife climbing a mountain in northern Italy stumbled across what appeared to be trash left by careless hikers. On closer inspection they realized that it was a human corpse lying near the surface of a melting alpine glacier. Ultimately, scientific study revealed that the man had lived 5,300 years earlier. Now known as Ötzi, he is one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made.

As glaciers melt throughout the world, more frozen bodies are appearing, adding to our knowledge of culture and history.

What's amazing about this book are the pictures. The pictures show you everything and give you an idea what it must be like for a hiker to discover a frozen corpse. The text is very informative and highlights types of glaciers, the mystery of George Mallory, who died trying to climb Mt. Everest and some recently discovered Incan children who were sacrificed to the gods.

The topics covered are presented in an intriguing way that will capture young readers' attentions and teach them about our environment and history. This a wonderful read that will feed a young readers' hunger for glaciers and how people lived in the past.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sofia Davis on January 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was shipped quickly but the pictures are horrific. So if you don't like disturbing pictures this isn't your book. If you like death and pictures of dead bodies this is for you. It didn't work for me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my 5-6th grader. The adults in the family couldn't put it down. We really liked the overview, pictures, and multiple background and time frames of history. While my child thought it was disturbing, I thought it was a great addition to our collection that I would keep.
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