Review of “Bodies from the Ice”

Deem, James M.  Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2008.  ISBN: 9780618800452

Beginning with the Iceman of the Alps, this books covers the many bodies found in artic conditions.  There are pictures and descriptions of how each body died and was recovered.  Along with the Iceman, the book also includes people found in glaciers in Switzerland.  Here there were soldiers and travelers who died and were preserved in the ice.  There is also information about the frozen children of the Andes where the children were sacrificed to appease their gods.  These bodies as well were preserved in the ice and the book provides photographs of these corpses.  Everest hikers and tools are also shown being discovered in frozen climates that have been preserved over time.

Vardell states that, “The photo essay book ‘particularizes and personalizes information making it more emotionally involving for the reader or documents and validates the truth of the text with photographs’ (Hepler, 1998, p. 8)” (239).  I look at this book as if I were a middle school student who would be disturbed yet fascinated with the morbid science of this book.  The pictures are absolutely necessary to show the reader what archeologists have found.  The vivid details of the Iceman and the Andes sacrificed children really provides powerful understanding just by seeing these photographs.  It is the photographs that draw the reader in to know all about who they, how they died, how they were discovered and how they managed to be preserved all this time.

Booklist (Dec 01, 2008) reviews this book by saying, “Perhaps most fascinating to kids will be the chapter on recently discovered Incan children sacrificed to the gods. The pictures of these children, looking as though they might be sleeping, are arresting. 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.”  I think this book would work well from the projected grades of 5-8 who were doing a section in environmental science.  I would pair this with the other book by Deem called Bodies from the Bog. Having the photographs and spawned interest in the morbid would give students a springboard for class projects and presentations on subjects found in these books.

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