By Norbert E. Yankielun, PhD
W.W. Norton & Company, $17.95, 148 pages
First the snow – with deference to the particular and suitable types – then the tools, an extra pair of hands, and a few hours work. Norbert Yankielun makes building an igloo sound pretty manageable. He renews every kid’s dream of living in a cozy adult-free space, clad warmly as an Inuit. This is a splendidly informative book, covering not only the building of snow shelters but also crucial details like clothing, food, and light which feed into the critical needs for coping with extreme cold.
Igloos are not homes per se, but rather temporary havens during winter hunting trips. The igloo’s simplicity of design and durability are closely described making construction seem feasible even for klutzes. Yankielun includes alternative shelters like quinzees and drift caves where precise handiwork spells the difference between comfort and potential catastrophe.
Readers with no intention of setting foot in the northern wilds can still enjoy the easygoing style, the line drawings, and down to earth tips like keeping bottled water and boots inside the sleeping bag to prevent their freezing and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to provide the energy needed to cope with extreme climate conditions.
Reviewed by Jane Manaster