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The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World (New York Times) Hardcover – April 22, 2006
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"The wonderfully written narrative will pull youngsters into the book and hold them there willingly until the last page." --School Library Journal, starred (School Library Journal Starred)
"Revkin does a nice job of packaging the material he presents to make it interesting for the reader...A recommended purchase for all libraries with strong young adult nonfiction collections." (VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates))
"Readable without being patronising, the book explains the key concepts..." (The Financial Times of London)
"..fascinating blend of science and visuals." (The San Francisco Chronicle)
What an exhilarating book! Andy Revkin provides a lively reminder that
there are places on earth where adventure still reigns, and a warning
that we may be endangering them.
- Bill McKibben, author, The End of Nature
Andy Revkin takes us to the shifting ice mass of the North Pole where the real change for our planet is demonstrated everyday. He ably chronicles the explorers of our Last Frontier—climate scientists attempting to unlock the patterns of our future. What we learn through his intense experiences and near-photographic verbal images is a message dear to my heart. "We are no longer acting locally, we have gone global," he says. Everything is connected. Exhaust from a taxicab in Boston can be found in traces in the Arctic ice. His conclusion that "Earth has, to a significant extent, become what one species chooses to make it," should resonate with us all. If life began in a primordial sea, the ancient ice may be where we find signals of its ultimate peril. Revkin gives it to us straight—the choice is ours. - Jean-Michel Cousteau
"Told in the context of an adventure story—a visit to the North Pole, Andrew Revkin's book makes the issue of climate change accessible to children as well as to their parents. Yet the story line is engaging, often funny, sometimes profound—and thoroughly compelling reading!" -Lynne Cherry, Author of The Great Kapok Tree
"Although the text is for a younger audience, youths have not been written down to, and adults can certainly learn new information from the clear exposition."-Science Books and Films
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Tomorrow's scientists need to be 'shook up' and know there are still discoveries to be made; they can be the ones inventing new techniques needed to retrieve & examine rock core samples from deep below the ice. (See pictures on page 66). They can be detectives competing with the changing ice for answers to frustrating puzzles about the rising seas, for example.
The editor has used engravings and diagrams along with the latest photographs to give an impressive smattering of the history of arctic exploration. The double-spread of a lone seal on pages 100-101 should have been placed to better advantage, to help make Revkin's point about the loneliness of the Arctic where the silence is often interrupted by questions about the future of mankind. This is a excellent, stimulating book for all ages to read and discuss together.
The polar regions have always drawn explorers and it is our luck that the New York Times sent Andrew Revkin to the North to look for ways of stirring the public. We must each take an active interest and help stimulate youthful curiosity by showing the techniques used today. It is not enough to feel the exhilaration of travel without becoming responsible global citizens. In a recent interview by Gwen Iffel on PBS, Revkin cited the "slow drift" of events that do not receive adequate coverage by the media, as for example the recent announcement that the first whale species in China is now extinct. Consider also the projection that by 2040 the Arctic Ocean could be blue for the first time in a thousand years.
Already the levels of contaminates in the bodies of Inuit persons living in the North is beyond acceptable. The Pole is indeed moving . . . can we be instrumental in putting the puzzle pieces back together and work toward unity for the good of the Earth and our children's future?
We must not lose generations of the ingenuity of bright young minds to Wars and the Pestilence of mediocre minds.
Given the title of this book and a bubbly blurb from eco-wingnut Bill McKibben, I was expecting the usual knee-jerk no-brain "OMG THE WORLD IS BURNING UP" nonsense. To say that what I got was a pleasant surprise would be an understatement in the extreme. New York Times columnist Revkin, who has been writing about environmental issues (with, given the article snippets presented in this book, a surprisingly clear head), spent a few days at the North Pole with a research team and reports on what he saw and the conversations he had. (The seemingly alarmist title is explained by the fact that the polar ice is in constant motion; you can't stick a pole in the ice and say "the North Pole is here," because the pole will move a few miles a day.) These are intercut with North Pole-related articles from Revkin and other Times columnists.
Revkin buys into the "climate change is happening" rhetoric, but he repeatedly goes out of his way to point out that humanity has no way of knowing how much-- or if-- it contributes, and how much is natural cycles. That alone makes this a must-read for kids interested in global warming. In addition, Revkin is fascinated and awed by the simple majesty of the Pole, and interested in the history of humanity's attempts to get there, and it all makes for good reading. Fun for the adults in the family as well as the kids. ****