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Growing up at the foot of Mount Everest, a Sherpa boy named Tenzing Norgay dreamed about one day being the first to climb the giant in his backyard. For years he practiced, carrying loads of rocks in his backpack to grow stronger, prowling the mountain's lower levels; later, carrying loads of equipment for other adventurers, but always, always, wanting to climb himself.
But his dream never seemed possible until he met Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand beekeeper who shared Tenzing's dream. By working together every step of the way, two men from entirely different backgrounds climbed into the clouds, to the peak of Mount Everest. However, as the years passed, only Hilary's name lived on in the history books while, in the west, Norgay's was mostly forgotten.
In Tiger of the Snows, Robert Burleigh introduces young readers to one of the Far East's greatest heroes and tells the long-neglected story of a litle boy with an unimaginable dream, who refused to be daunted by the world's most daunting mountain, and who came to be known as the tiger of the snows. Caldecott winner Ed Young brings Everest to life with hauntingly, subtly beautiful animal imageries and resplendent colors, capturing the breathtaking grandeur and life force of the mountain the Nepalese call Mother Goddess of the Earth.
This extraordinary book tells a long-neglected story about a Himalayan sherpa who fulfills his childhood dreams of climbing to "the top of the world." Although Sir Edmund Hillary is given credit for being the first man to climb Mount Everest on May 20, 1953, he was actually led to the summit by Tenzing Norgay, whose life story is effectively told in this formal poem. Young's (Beyond the Great Mountains) cinematic illustrations are nearly as awe-inspiring as the mountain itself, and Burleigh's (Black Whiteness) evocative poetry is both challenging and lyrical. As a boy, Tenzing is "hungry for the taste of clouds," and dreams of climbing the five-mile high mountain, the "sharpest tooth in the jaw of the great dragon,/ Mountain so tall no bird can fly over it." In Young's breathtaking illustrations, the mountains become characters in the book; his pastels take on the texture of colorful shadows, "wind-sculpted snow" and a landscape of clouds. He drapes the white, snow-capped mountains in robes of indigo, cobalt and cerulean, and the swirling snow seems to move on the page. Were it not for the explanation of Norgay's story in the afterword and on the book's jacket, young readers might have difficulty puzzling out the tale's complicated syntax, but Young's illustrations provide a strong context for Burleigh's "Song for Tenzing,/ Tenzing Norgay,/ Sherpa,/ Mountain man,/ Tiger of the snows." Together, text and illustrations create a unified work of art as dazzling as sunlit snow. Ages 7-10.