Monday, November 14, 2011

Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem


Deem, James M. Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.


A husband and wife climbing the mountains in Italy discovered a man that lived 5,300 years ago. He was preserved in the alpine glacier. He was the oldest human mummy preserved in ice ever found. All around the world glaciers are melting at alarming rates and hikers are discovering hidden bodies of people who died during climbing accidents, hunters from hundreds of years ago, women climbers, and children sacrificed to the Gods many years ago. Scientists are worrying why glaciers have melted rapidly in recent years and if we can slow down or prevent this process in the future.

Critical Analysis:

This non-fiction book begins with a drawing of the Alps and the reader learns about a discovery by a husband and wife. The discovery is the Otzi, the oldest man every found. He is 5,300 years old. There are actual photographs with red circles depicting where the body was found. There are pictures of the body, tools and artifacts found with the body. The pictures are in color and black and white. There are 65 photographs and many of them are rare photographs. The photos of the mummies will fascinate the reader.

There is technical language, but the chapters are readable for children. The writing is of high quality. Each chapter takes you to different glaciers in the world where discoveries were found. There are pictures of what the glaciers used to look like many years ago and what they look like today. the visuals definitely aid in understanding what you are reading. The material is well organized with a table of contents, a list of glaciers around the world, suggested websites, bibliography and index.

The information is accurate. There is a chapter of children found in the Andes. These children were sacrifices to the gods.Young readers will be mesmerized by the mummies found in sitting positions. There is also a chapter on the mystery of George Mallory and if he reached the summit of Everest before he died. There are personal ways to help the environment included at the end. Deem reminds the reader that these glaciers are a source of water supply and what will happen if the glaciers disappear in the next 15-50 years.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

School Library Journal states that this is a "great resource" and that is true. I did not find any weaknesses unless you do not like gruesome pictures.

Reviews and Awards:

"There are books about melting glaciers and books about frozen bodies, but this attractive offering combines the topics in a way that will intrigue readers . . . Heavily illustrated with historical memorabilia as well as photos of bodies, scenery, artifacts, and rather simplistic maps, this offers a lot to look at and learn about."--Booklist

"With its extensive bibliography, suggested Web sites, and a listing of glaciers to visit, Bodies is a fantastic resource. Deem superbly weaves diverse geographical settings, time periods, and climate issues into a readable work that reveals the increasing interdisciplinary dimensions of the sciences."--School Library Journal, starred review

"Glaciers—and the preserved past they offer up—give us an intriguing peek into various cultures, yielding information on everything from human sacrifice to occult superstition to sporting endeavors. As the book concludes, a striking irony becomes evident: glaciers continue to melt at an alarming rate, warranting caution and concern for the global environment, yet even as they dwindle they offer up more clues to our human past. The book design, with its variety of photographs, captions, and sidebars, seals the appeal."--Horn Book

"Gripping stories are accompanied by highly informative expedition photographs of human remains discovered in glaciers around the world, such as in the Alps of Europe and the Andes of Peru. The preserved bodies give us a glimpse into our human prehistory as well as the climate and inhabitants of Earth's past." Science Teacher March 2009

2009 Robert F. Sibert Informational Award Honor Book
2011 Prairie Pasque Award
2008 Best Children's Book
Notable Book for Children 2009
2009 Outstanding Science Trade Book for students K-12

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