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Book Review: Everest: Reaching the Roof of the World by David Long (Barrington Stoke)

Illustrated by Stefano Tambellini


For ages 9+

Having not that long ago watched the Netflix documentary '14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible' I was pretty amped at receiving this book for review. Author, David Long, has an honourable track record of writing engaging and educational non-fiction books, and I've always got time for him.

As always with Barrington Stoke published books, the reader is treated to dyslexia and learning difficulty-friendly fonts, paper and illustrations. Their books are slimmer and provide readers with that altogether essential sense of accomplishment of finishing a book and pride in their reading journey, whether they're more reluctant readers or not. I always feel excited about their books - they choose to work with only the best authors and illustrators so that readers feel on parr with their peers reading more lengthy and challenging books, as the maturity-level in these slimmer tomes is pitched perfectly each time.

About the book

We start by finding out about how Everest fits in with all the other mountains in the world, including Mount Snowdon in Wales, UK (1,085m) and through a double spread diagram are able to compare the peaks with Everest in Nepal and Tibet (8,849m). We go on to learn about different effects of the seasons on conditions, the equipment needed, the 'death zone', and the climbing expeditions since the first serious attempt to climb Everest by a British team in 1921.

The determination and grit of the teams, particularly in the early years when they didn't have the medical sagacity and advanced climbing gear of today, is astounding and feels utterly reckless... however, of course we are able to dissect their efforts with hindsight forgetting that they were the great explorers of their time moving into the unknown to race to be the first, much like those who raced to plant their flag at the North Pole or on the moon.

Readers will be fascinated by the attempts of climbers such as George Mallory, Colonel John Hunt and Edmund Hillary, but also be enlightened by the role of the native Sherpas like Tenzing Norgay or Kami Rita who has reached the summit of Everest 26 times! A Sherpa even got married at the summit in 2005!

Even if mountaineering isn't a passion for your child, reading this book will give them a true sense of how human beings are able to challenge themselves to the impossible and survive. They will also feel humility as we live on this vast planet with its extreme and inhospitable natural landscapes - and how some feel the need to always 'conquer'.

Thankfully, David Long also talks towards the end of the book about the current picture at Everest with the huge number of attempts made every year by both experienced and inexperienced climbers, some who sadly die either on the way up or on the way down. He highlights the increasing problem of the damage these mountaineering 'tourists' are causing too the local environment, leaving their poo lying around, their non-biodegradable rubbish flying around the base camps and peaks causing a threat to any wildlife or plantlife.

There's so much to soak up from a book only 82 pages long.

About the creators

David Long (author)

David Long is a journalist and author of non-fiction for both adults and children. A writer since leaving university, his work has appeared in the Sunday Times and London’s Evening Standard. His engaging non-fiction reflects his unquenchable thirst for fascinating stories from the past, and in 2017 his book Survivors won the Blue Peter Award for the best book with facts.

Stefano Tambellini (illustrator)

Stefano Tambellini was born in a small town in Tuscany (Italy). In 2009 he graduated in Traditional Hand-Drawn Animation at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Torino and then moved to London, where he lived for 5 years, starting to work as a freelance illustrator.

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Grab a copy

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Publication date: 1 September 2022

Format: Paperback

Also by David Long in his 'An Incredible True Story' series for Barrington Stoke:

*My review copy was kindly sent to me by the publisher.

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