It can be hard to think of Everest as unknown anymore. While it’s certainly a challenge to climb the world’s tallest mountain, someone–with enough time and money—has a good chance of making it to the summit. A potential mountaineer can fly into Kathmandu, travel to a well-stocked base camp, be escorted up a well-trodden route by expert sherpas. There’s even Wifi at the peak.

The story of George Mallory’s 1924 failed and fatal attempt on Everest is perhaps mountaineering’s greatest unsolved mystery. Last spotted 250 meters from the summit, Mallory and his partner Andrew Irvine disappeared from view and would never be seen alive again. When Mallory’s body was eventually found in 1999, Irvine’s body never was. The mystery of whether they reached the summit before they perished on the mountain has never been solved. Yet this was not Mallory’s first attempt on the summit; the story of his incomplete ascent two years earlier in 1922, is not as well known. This new book, launched in time for the centenary of the attempt, treads new ground by telling the story of the very first expedition on Everest.

“When people talk of horses, no one ever thinks of China,” complains Yin Hung Young in the opening lines of The Horses of China. By “people” she may have in mind the kinds of people who compete in  dressage, follow thoroughbred racing or work on Kentucky stud farms, the “horsey” people to whom Young dedicates this book. While horses have had an immense impact on China’s ancient civilization, this super power in so many aspects of the modern world is an also-ran in the world of breeding and racing. Young delves into the many reasons why this is, and why this should not be the case. In this enjoyable-to-read and instructively-illustrated book, readers will learn that this chapter of China’s rise remains to be written.

Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters, Suzanne Kamata, Tracy Bishop (illus)
Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters, Suzanne Kamata, Tracy Bishop (illus) (One Elm Books, March 2020)

Thirteen-year-old Satoshi Matsumoto spent the last three years living in Atlanta where he was the star of his middle-school baseball team—a slugger with pro potential, according to his coach. Now that his father’s work in the US has come to an end, he’s moved back to his hometown in rural Japan.