Sweet Land of Liberty ) tribute to Matthew Henson, the African-American explorer credited as being the “co-discoverer” (along with "/>

Keep On! The Story of Matthew Henson, Co-discoverer of the North Pole

Deborah Hopkinson, Author, Stephen Alcorn, Illustrator , illus. by Stephen Alcorn. Peachtree $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-473-0

Hopkinson’s (Sweet Land of Liberty ) tribute to Matthew Henson, the African-American explorer credited as being the “co-discoverer” (along with Admiral Robert Peary) of the North Pole in 1909, retells a story gaining traction among picture-book publishers, adding a few welcome embellishments. Henson’s own descriptions of the pristine landscape and the Inuit people, who teach him about the “harsh, cold north,” are peppered throughout Hopkinson’s sturdy prose, while Alcorn’s (Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells ) characteristically stylized illustrations range from images of classic Americana to organic figures in motion against collage-like backdrops of wild weather. In one detail, sled dogs run skyward, like Santa’s reindeer, past what we can assume to be northern lights; elsewhere, wind gusts against the explorers in curling, curving lines. Though Henson emerges as idealized, Hopkinson’s description of him as “experienced, resourceful, brave” comes across as well deserved. Ages 6–10. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/05/2009
Release date: 01/01/2009
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