Book reviews by Rebecca

Book review: Sophie Scott Goes South

Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester, ISBN 9780670880683, Penguin Group Australia

The reviewer borrowed this book from the library.  

Sophie Scott Goes South (cover)

Sophie Scott is nine, and she’s going to Antarctica with her dad—the captain of the Aurora Australis. It will take two weeks to get there, and they will be staying at Mawson Station for a week before coming home.

This is Sophie’s diary of her trip. But it’s sort of a scrapbook about Antarctica—as well as her diary entries, Sophie includes a detailed map of the ship, and photos of it, too. She describes (and draws) the special cold-weather clothes she has to wear and talks about the strange sounds and sights she sees from the ship. I love the drawings of the people on the ship and at the crew at Mawson Station and also the drawings of the animals and the environment in Antarctica. Many of the pages also feature snippets of information about the history of Antarctic explorers, and facts about the continent and the creatures that live there. (Did you know that an iceberg that sits just under the surface of the water is called a growler? Or that Roald Amundsen from Norway was the first to the South Pole?)

You’ll find a glossary at the end of the book and the endpapers show a map of the world showing Sophie’s journey to Antarctica, and a map of Antarctica from above.

On every page there are interesting things to look at, amazing photos and Sophie’s observations. One of my favourite photos shows a Weddell Seal scratching his nose. I also love the gallery of photos showing the colours of Antarctica. It’s not just white!) Sophie’s journey is based on the author’s own trip to Antarctica and many of ‘Sophie’s’ drawings in the book were co-created with children who read Alison Lester’s online diary entries during her trip. (Children sent the author artwork inspired by the online diary entries.)

This book grabs your attention from the first page. Gallop as quickly as you can to a library or bookshop if you love strange adventures, explorers, sea creatures, ships or Antarctica. Or all of them together!

© March 2013 “Review of Sophie Scott Goes South” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

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