Shackleton’s epic journey + award-winning illustrations

shackleton's journey william grill cover imageShackleton’s Journey, written and illustrated by William Grill
published in 2014 by Flying Eye Books

Ahhhh. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this gorgeous book, one of the esteemed winners of the NY Times Best Illustrated Books Awards in 2014.

It is a beauty.

Previously I’ve reviewed a couple other Shackleton stories; his journey is so remarkable it’s no wonder many are drawn to recounting it. There’s a fantastic graphic novel version of it reviewed here, and a well-written, longer account with archival photos reviewed here.

UK artist William Grill’s approach is unique in its arresting illustrations which give us a fascinating glimpse of particulars as well as capturing the sense of vastness, isolation, and intimidating landscapes faced by the crew.

Stylish cameos of every man…

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and dog…

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and piece of equipment,

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are juxtaposed with dramatic spreads of vessels dwarfed by immense seas of pack ice…

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and gigantic icebergs.

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Every page is laid out beautifully, with illustrations dominating, creating strong moods, atmosphere, turbulence or stillness, masterfully pulling us into the scenes to experience the journey along with the crew.

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Grill does not talk down to his audience. His narration is studded with a strong vocabulary and concepts. Read it aloud with kids 8-10, or give this to older children through adults. I think it would make a fine Father’s Day gift for a dad or grandpa interested in sailing or exploration.