The Indestructible Tom Crean: Heroic Explorer of the Antarctic by Jennifer Thermes

Published by Viking Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Tom Crean grew up on the coast of Ireland and went to sea like most of the other young men around him.  But his fate took an unusual turn when he volunteered to be a last-minute replacement on board Robert Scott’s ship Discovery sailing for Antarctica.  This was the first of three trips Tom took to Antarctica: he was also part of Captain Scott’s attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole and was on board the ill-fated Endurance with Ernest Shackleton.  In fact, Tom was one of three men responsible for the rescue for the rest of the Endurance crew.  Shackleton tried to convince Tom to go on one more Antarctic exploration, but by then Tom had settled down in Ireland, opening the South Pole Pub (still operating today) with his wife, and raising three children.  Includes an afterword with additional information, a timeline, and a list of sources.  56 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  I love Jennifer Thermes’ illustrations, especially her maps, and am delighted to see on Amazon that she has a book about the history of America coming out this summer.  The illustrations are delightful, and the story is riveting, with plenty of back matter to make it a pretty complete biography.

Cons: Made Antarctica seem unappealing as a travel destination.

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