Sophie Scott Goes South

Alison Lester

Sophie Scott Goes South
Penguin Books Australia
23 May 2012

Sophie Scott Goes South

Alison Lester

I’m going to Antarctica and I can’t wait!

Sophie Scott is only nine years old, but she’s going to Antarctica on an icebreaker with her dad, the ship’s captain. During the voyage to Mawson Station and back, Sophie keeps a diary. She sees icebergs, penguins, seals and whales. She makes new friends, experiences the southern lights and even becomes stranded in a blizzard!

Children’s Laureate and much-loved picture-book creator Alison Lester travelled to Antarctica as an Antarctic Arts Fellow. Her alter ego, Sophie Scott, goes on the same adventure in a friendly, informative and beautifully presented book that sees the wonder of Antarctica through a child’s eyes.


What an adventure! Antarctica is almost like another world and Sophie Scott is going there. Her dad is captain of Aurora Australis, an icebreaker (a type of ship) that travels from Hobart to Antarctica to deliver people and supplies.

A lot of scientific research is done there, so along with scientists there are other people (such as cooks, electricians and doctors) there to assist in habitation. Lucky nine-year-old Sophie is going there for the first time; ‘she’s a little bit scared but very excited!’

On the trip over Sophie names the icebergs according to their shapes and some are as tall as 15-storey buildings. But there are plenty more strange and fascinating things such as:

  • the sun doesn’t set until 10:30pm
  • only one tenth of an iceberg is above the water surface
  • there are more than twenty thousand penguins there

It is so cold that Sophie has to wear so many clothes that she feels like a Teletubby and feels as though she is entering an icy kingdom.

Alison Lester has used different mediums to illustrate the book, which enriches the journey, and the story will appeal to girls as well as boys, even if, oh horror, the main character is a girl!

While lots of kids travel to the places in Lester’s excellent Are We There Yet? not many will get to go to Antarctica, so here is their chance. What a treat it is, too. The endpapers are informative, the journey is fascinating and as with all Lester’s books, it is amiable, adventurous (but not scary) and celebrates life.

Picture books don’t get much better than this. For ages seven and up.

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