Customer Reviews: Antarctica: Journey to the Pole (Antarctica (Scholastic) Book 1)
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VINE VOICEon August 17, 2000
And also an awful lot of fun for this adult!
Exactly the kind of story I loved as a child, and still love now - kids out in the adult-world braving themselves against nature and most importantly, against their own fears and insecurities. The story is, of course, exciting - a trip to Antarctica in 1909 when such trips were not so easy. The author's realistic use of marine language, situations, and technology of the time adds to the authenticity of the story.
What I appreciate so much about it, and what always drew me in as a child to stories like these, is that the youth in the story are not just helpless ignorant children, nor are they brainy super-kids that never seem to be wrong. They are very real teens - struggling with who they are and with their family and who and what is their sense of authority. In the course of the story, they learn and grow. Yes, they end up sometimes saving the day, but not in a trite way - when they save the day it is because they have grown past a fear, or grown into a sense of confidence in their own self, and taken a big psychological chance by expressing their authority, and that makes the situation real to the reader, and also shows the reader, especially the children readers for whom the book is intended, that what they are experiencing in their lives is real, and scary, and sometimes terrible, but that they can grow beyond it, and they can have hope that they will go beyond who they are now. Giving youth a sense of hope, and a sense that they are smart enough and good enough to make it in the world, and also showing them they will learn and grow into adulthood is so important, and books like this are great helpers.
Although he book is written with a vocabularly and a sentence structure geared toward younger readers, the author does not "dumb down" to youth level, which is great. It's an awfully quick read for an adult, quicker even than Harry Potter prose, but for a youth, it's gotta be just about right - long enough to challenge, not so long that the child reader will get bogged down in detail and become completely lost in the narrative.
I also appreciate the reality of it. Some reviewers have commented that it's maybe a little too realistic or grim or dark, but come on people - it's life. I'm glad my parents didn't feel the need to "protect" me, leaving me to grow into a functional adult human being. I'm glad Lerangis had the courage to include the scene of a man having his gangrenous feet axed off and of dogs dying in the cold, etc. Kids aren't stupid, and exposing them to real world issues isn't going to turn them into psychotics - it will turn them into normal adults who understand that a lot of stuff is dangerous, and who fear things realistically. Not that we need to add extra-realistic stuff to shock our kids, but we can't sugarcoat the world for them, either. People who are frostbit get their parts cut off. Dogs and people die in the cold. Ships get smashed by ice. People fall overboard. Sometimes people walk off into the snow, and are never seen again.
Two last quick notes: I am glad that Lerangis popped in some Greek from the Greek character. Not in a way that the reader will have to know it to understand the story, but it adds a bit more realism, and I think showing the young English reader some foreign words is helpful to broaden their horizons. I am also glad that he included a few literature references - he mentions the teen characters reading Jack London and some other actually existing meat-world writings, which will hopefully drive the reader to the library or bookstore. What a great (perhaps sneaky?) way to expose young readers to our great literature. The teen characters are also shown reading other books in order to learn about Antarctica, how to navigate, and to learn other things they will need for the trip.
Lerangis' last pages in the book are a rarity: a bibliography (in a child's book!) and a list of web-page resources about Antarctica and about the original adventurers who first set foot on it's icy fields of blowing death.
A great book, certainly appropriate for younger readers. I'm very impressed, and will be passing this on to my young relatives. (great job, Peter!)
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on December 14, 2002
What a thrill it wasto read this book. Such adventure. I got it for my fourteenth birthday and I can't wait to read the second volume. Thank you, Mr. Lerangis. You're my new favorite author!
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HALL OF FAMEon July 17, 2000
In 1909, after the death of his second wife, Jack Winslow andhis sixteen-year-old son Colin and fifteen-year-old stepson Andrew,along with a crew, set out the explore Antartica. Colin and Andrew resent each other, there are arguments among the crew, and the journey is long and difficult. And once they land, it's an even longer journey across Antarctica, that not everyone that sets out will survive. And back on the ship, Colin must deal with a mutiny among the small crew left behind. This was an excellant historical adventure story, different from many others for kids and teens. However, I do not agree with the classification of the book as one for ages 9-12. With the older characters and a story that would appeal more to older readers, this book would be better classified as one for readers 12 and up. I think teenagers who enjoy this type of book would be the best audience.
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on April 29, 2015
I really love Peter Leranigs, but this was not my favorite book of his. However, I did like the book. It was good, just not great and that might have been because I had just finished reading an amazing book, so my expectations were high.

It is a story of the race to the pole in the early 1900's. The main character, Cole, is a young boy whose father is obsessed with finding the pole. Cole's mother has died and his stepbrother Andrew is competition for the father's affection. Cole thinks he can reconnect with his father on the voyage to the pole, until he finds out that Andrew is going as well. The voyage is filled with disaster and misadventure, both natural and man-made. And, yet, it wasn't a knuckle-biter. Perhaps I've read too many of these types of stories. The descriptions of the adventure were really fascinating--to think what men endured, what they willingly volunteered for in order to conquer unknown lands. It's very clearly a clean adventure story with nothing in it remotely inappropriate. Just good, clean fun that has a touch more family drama than hair-raising adventure for this thrill seeker.

The book did have great information on that period in history and really shows what it might have been like to travel to Antarctica back then. It's definitely a book for adolescents and has nothing in it to really interest adults.

It's part of a series, but not one I will keep reading. It just didn't hold my attention enough to search out the others.
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on December 31, 2000
Antarctica #1: Journey To The Pole tells the story of a gripping journey to reach the South Pole. A secret expedition hired by the multimillionaire Horace Putney sets out into the harsh circumstances of the Antarctic, with heroic Jack Winslow as the expedition leader. But tensions arise along the journey. Conditions are far more harsh then the crew expected, and the ultimate test of survival will reflect the faith of the crew. The choices are impossible situations, and their only hope is to endure and go on. The author, Peter Lerangis, writes this amazing first part of the story beautifully and with a flare that are portrayed by proffesional writers who know not just how to think up an amazing story, but to write it with the exact spices it needs. This is what we are able to experience when we read the painful story that Peter Lerangis introduced, a story that can't be forgotten any time soon.
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on June 27, 2000
I know a thing or two about this period, having studied the turn of the century at length. It is an interesting era in which to set an adventure, because the world is opening up and the race to the poles is one of many subjects that must have consumed the imaginations of youngsters in that time. It seems like a great choice for a young adult book. I got a copy for my son, whose name is Jack, like the explorer, even though it will be a few years before he can read it (he's just 4). And I got another copy for my 12 year old nephew, who I am certain will devour it. I read it myself and found it exhilerating! A tale that cuts across the generations!
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on September 30, 2000
Journey to the Pole is a GREAT book. Right away it catches you. I absolutly LOVE this book. The end is AWESOME too. Even if you don't know much about Antarctica, you must read about it.
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on March 21, 2001
Antarctica: Journey to the Pole is a novel about an expedition to the South Pole. Andrew, Colin and Jack Winslow are trying to be the first people to get to the South Pole. They find a crew, and sail off. When they get to Antarctica, they split into two groups. One group stays on the boat, while the other group goes to the Pole. Can they make it to the Pole and back without running into any strong blizzards? Read this book to find the answer. This was a great book. I recommend it to everyone who likes a good adventure book.
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on June 27, 2000
My son (age 10) loved this thrilling book. The exotic locale and suspense-filled plot left him hungry for more...and me dialing up to order book 2! He's hooked.
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on June 4, 2006
Will they be the first to take steps on the South Pole or will they be one of the hundreds that die from the extreme conditions there. Jack's wife had just died but it did not delay his journey to the South Pole. He brought his son Colin and his step son Andrew. They did not get along very well and got into fights on several occasions on the voyage but resolved their differences later. With this ship capable of cutting icebergs in half they managed to make it to Antarctica and there Jack the project manager and Bard captain of the ship split the crew in to two groups with the people that where more useful on the way up to get to see Antarctica and hike to the south pole and the other group would stay on the ship and wait for the others to return. Andrew was chosen on the group to go to the South Pole along with many others including the Greek dog trainer. They made it about half way but in hopes of saving there lives turned around and headed back for the ship. While this was going on at the ship some of the sailors where setting up a mutiny. Captain Bard had worked them to hard and they just wanted to go home. Colin fooled their plan at the last minute and a few days after Jack, Andrew, and the others returned with their mission failed but only having one casualty. Shreve fell in to a crevice and died. They where back, but not without injury. They had black spots of frost bite on their faces and the dog keeper lost his feet to gang green. They did not complete their mission but they got to see a lot of amazing things. Antarctica: Journey to the Poles is an exciting and adventurous book that teaches you a lot about the harshness of the voyage to Antarctica.

The Author makes the book exciting right from the start. He describes the run that Colin makes through the city dodging cars to deliver the news of the death of his mother, but to his surprise his father shrugs it off and continues planning for this big adventure. When Andrew and Colin have a fight on board the description of Colin the bigger of the two tossing Andrew around was very exciting, but the most exciting part was in the frequent blizzards they encountered out in Antarctica. The crew can barely see a foot in front of them and there is ice tearing little holes into their face but they still survive. It gave you a lot to think about and the reader is introduced to situations never even imagined.

The book is adventurous from the start. The entire voyage to Antarctica is very daring. The characters are also very adventurous. Jack can be considered to adventurous when the death of his wife did not slow him down a day in his plans. Grieving is not part of his life and you might think there was millions of dollars hidden in the South Pole because of how bad he wanted to go. Andrew is also a brave child. He goes on this voyage with nothing but book smarts and the crew knows it but he still goes. Then he is chosen to go hiking from there location at Antarctica all the way to the South Pole. It was brave of him to except and he shows how a little bit of courage can lead to all knew and wonderful experiences.

Although a novel this book teaches a lot about the hardships that would go on in a trip like this. In the water while sailing you are on constant alert of icebergs in the water the size football fields. The ship was trapped once and the crew went out with picks and chipped it way through. Temperature is probably the biggest problem that they had to go through. When it is 100 degrees below zero it can do a lot of bad things to your body and some times they had to go through temperatures that where even more harsh and farther away from zero. Another one of the problems they suffered that came with their location was the constant blizzards. The thought of anyone surviving those conditions is hard to believe. The snow is constantly falling and the wind is constantly blowing. Blizzards are constant in this book and that is just another weather difference the book teaches about.

Antarctica: Journey to the Poles was a good read. It taught a lot about the conditions in Antarctica while telling a story of many brave adventurous people going through exciting situations. It is worth the time it takes to read and is recommended to anyone that had the time to read this review

M. Becouvarakis
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