Review Blog

May 03 2013

This place is cold by Vicki Cobb

cover image

Ill. by Barbara Lavallee. Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN 9780 8027 3401 3.
(Age: 5-8) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Alaska. Non fiction. This fascinating little book, full of interesting and informative stories about aspects of life in Alaska for plants, animals and humans, piqued my interest from start to finish. Certainly that interest was held by the range of facts given, the scope of the text and the beautiful illustrations. Double page spreads in the first seven pages explain why the place in the Arctic Circle is so cold, and detail the severity of the cold for readers to better understand the temperatures of the place. There follows eight pages outlining how plants and animals survive in these harsh conditions, and then what people live there and how they too survive.
But I longed for a map, contents page, glossary and an index! With a non fiction text, these are essential tools for research, so I was surprised to read that this is a republishing of a 'ground breaking geography series' which first appeared in 1969. Despite these shortcomings, the text is fabulous, full of interest and detail, with illustrations that are full of life and colour, and I would probably see this as a non fiction text in a reader box, although it could be an information book within a group about the Arctic Circle, about which little is written.
The last few pages are most interesting, detailing the effects of humans on this environment. With the arrival of North American Indians, then Eskimos, followed by sealers, trappers, and then gold seekers, the place was opened up to outsiders, and has changed considerably as a result. Another in the series, called This place is wet, will follow.
Fran Knight

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