Saturday, February 7, 2015

Shackleton's Journey by William Grill

It's a hundred years since Ernest Shackleton selected 26 men from 5000 applicants to sail to Antarctica and attempt a crossing of the continent on foot. It didn't quite work out as they planned and this beautiful atmospheric hardback tells the story of what happened on this extraordinary journey.

While we are reading the facts they are accompanied by wonderfully simple Illustrations with coloured pencil in icy shades of blue and white, and earth shades of yellow and brown. The design reflects the subject matter, the crew and the dogs laid out in a grid, lists of supplies, maps, then big gorgeous spreads - a double page of pack ice, isolation depicted with the fainted strokes of blue on white and a tiny boat at the bottom of the right hand page, a blizzard with no text at all, just booming clouds and raging seas.

We learn about many of the individual men, how their skills and ability to improvise and work together, not just doing their work but also in cheering one another along, keeping everyone motivated.

This is such a beautiful way to learn about a subject, incorporating an artful hand with perfectly rendered text and balanced design with plenty of space, right down to the ice flow end-papers and compass-like cover illustration, this is a treasure-trove of this little bit of history.

Shackleton's Journey
Written and illustrated by William Grill
Flying Eye Books
ISBN 978-1-909263-10-9
Hardback NZ$41.50

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