Captain's Log: Snowbound

Captain's Log: Snowbound

  • 1799

By: Erin Dionne / Illustrated by: Jeffrey Ebbeler

When his Ernest Shackleton report is ironically quashed because of a snowstorm, a school cancellation-celebrating elementary schooler chronicles his adventures at home with hilarious log entries and read-aloud-friendly results.

The Captain's (our young protagonist) belongings start to go missing while homebound due to weather, and humorous attacks and pell-mell mutiny follow. After a series of snow day events, the crew (the Captain's parents), the first mate (his trusty dog), and the scallywag (also known as the younger sibling) are freed from their snowbound home, and the Captain returns to school.

Kids will laugh at the Captain's battle with his siblings, and parents will relate to the antics that ensue when the weather prevents students from heading to class and upsets daily routines and schedules.

Listen to Erin talk about Captain's Log: Snowbound on Charlesbridge Unplugged.

    Look Inside the Book:

    Author & Illustrator Bios:

    Erin Dionne, author

    Erin Dionne is the author of several middle-grade novels, including Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting; Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking, an Edgar Award nominee; and Notes from an Accidental Band Geek. Her books have been featured in Scholastic book fairs, on state lists, and in major magazines. Erin is an associate professor of liberal arts at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts. Captain's Log: Snowbound is her first picture book.

    Jeffrey Ebbeler, illustrator

    Jeffrey Ebbeler has illustrated more than forty picture books, including the Main Street School series (Looking Glass Library/Random House). He has worked as an art director, done paper engineering for pop-up books, created large scale murals for schools and churches, and sculpted puppets. He currently lives in Cincinnati, OH.

    Awards & Honors:

    Coming Soon!

    Editorial Reviews:

    Kirkus Reviews, starred review

    When a young adventurer is snowed in, his predicament begins to parallel that of the icebound Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. A young boy is all set for a school presentation about Ernest Shackleton's 1914-16 expedition to Antarctica when he gets unexpectedly snowed in by a storm. Taking charge of the ship (his house) and reassuring the crew (his family), the young captain records his adventures, which mirror significant details of Shackleton's infamous voyage, in his captain's log. Full of heart and imagination, the log transforms the family dog into his first mate, neighbors into penguins, and his little brother into a scallywag. The young captain does his best to perform his duties and care for his crew and ship just as Shackleton would have, but when the hardtack (cookie jar) disappears and mutiny threatens, the captain must resort to unorthodox methods to solve the mystery and get back on track. Dionne and Ebbeler have crafted a narrative full of spirit with small aesthetic choices that together capture the exhilaration of exploration and help connect the imaginary to the everyday. Historical details, including a glossary and brief account of Shackleton's treacherous voyage, enrich a story that takes its pretend play very seriously, and a multiracial family and an endearing protagonist of color are welcome inclusions in a predominantly white landscape of adventure tales. Entertaining, informative—utterly delightful.


    Just as he is putting the finishing touches on his school report about Ernest Shackleton's Endurance voyage, a young boy and his family become trapped at home during a blizzard. The boy chronicles his snowbound days as if he were Shackleton keeping his captain's log. He notes penguins (toddlers playing in the snow), fur seals (a snow-plowing neighbor), and a dwindling supply of hardtack (chocolate chip cookies). Adding to the difficulties is a scallywag (his younger brother) who climbs the mainmast (fireplace mantle) to sing a song and then absconds with the hardtack. Ebbeler's digitally enhanced mixedmedia illustrations successfully incorporate details about Shackleton's trip into the contemporary story. He uses paired cutaway views of the interiors of the ship and the house (which are similarly shaped), includes black line drawings depicting Shackleton's crew (next to their contemporary, full-color counterparts), and shows the young protagonist wearing nautical clothing. Appended with an author's note explaining the story's origin (Boston, the winter of 2015), this will please those in need of snow day humor.

    School Library Journal

    Scallywag! Conny onny! Mutiny! Deliciously nautical vocabulary peppers Dionne and Ebbeler’s delightful offering. An unnamed pint-size captain finds himself snowed-in on the day of his big report on Ernest Shackleton of Antarctic fame. Channeling Shackleton, the boy chronicles his marooned adventures via “captain’s log,” in which readers see the snowed-in family transition from happily snowbound to mutinous and back again with the thaw. In addition to the captain, there’s Dad (Ship’s Cook), mom (Photographer), the dog (First Mate), and the little brother (the hardtack-pilfering scallywag). Dionne strikes a good balance between narrative and informational text, lightly mirroring Shackleton’s adventures with our own captain’s, and provides an illuminating author’s note, glossary, and brief recount of Shackleton’s journey in the back matter, with two resource suggestions for independent exploration. Ebbeler’s illustrations shine here, providing emotion, movement, and detail with additional narrative and informational tidbits for observant readers. Educators will find this a fun title to use in conjunction with explorer or winter lessons, while families are bound to enjoy for the humor and dynamic illustrations. VERDICT Whether for fun or for curriculum support, Snowbound is a strong addition to library collections.


    ISBN: 978-1-58089-825-6

    ISBN: 978-1-63289-683-4 EPUB
    ISBN: 978-1-63289-684-1 PDF
    For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

    Ages: 4-8
    Page count: 32
    11 x 9

    Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
    English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 2. Standards 1, 3-8, 10
    English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 3. Standards 1-4, 6-8, 10

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