'The epic true story of how Shackleton and his crew managed to survive crossing the frozen heart of Antarctica, a testament to their great courage and endurance'.
Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill has a big golden award medal stamped on the front of it - so I knew from the outset that it was probably going to be a solid pick. Make sure you have clean hands because the cover of this thing is super white.
Shackleton’s Journey is a potent addition to the increasing number of contemporary picture books that straddle the genres of both fiction and non-fiction. Combining fact-based storytelling with beautifully stylized illustrations, Shackleton’s Journey reads like a classic (yet suspiciously informative) adventure story.
The pages jump between lush double page spreads, comic book-like paneling, and something that more closely resembles infographic design than classical illustration. The drawing style is imaginative and endearingly simplistic. At times it verges on pure abstraction - perfect for depicting the surreal landscapes of the South Pole.
For any adult who doesn’t want to read a dense novel chronicling Shackleton's every move – you’ve got a wonderfully easy-to-digest and visually compelling read in Shackleton’s Journey. It will also look slick af on your coffee table.
Meanwhile, Shackleton’s Journey will fool younger readers into thinking that they are reading something resembling an epic adventure comic. In reality, they have been tricked into learning a bunch of facts about a real explorer. Pretty ideal really. I’d say kiddos around the age of 8+ will enjoy it.
Go buy it? Yep.
Flying Eye Books, 2014. Available now from Ekor Book Shop Cafe.