Ice Drift

Written by Theodore Taylor
Review by Juliet Waldron


Ice Drift is based on a true story of survival from the 1860s. Two Inuit brothers, Alika and Sulu, are hunting seals on an ice floe when it suddenly breaks free, leaving them floating far from shore. When evening falls and they do not return, their worried parents take to the sea in kayaks, hoping to find the missing children, but their floe is one of many, and it is already drifting south. The oldest boy, Alika, is only thirteen, but he has already learned the skills he needs for survival. Sulu, however, is nine, and Alika must assume grown-up responsibilities in order to keep himself and his beloved little brother alive. They have all the equipment customarily carried on an Inuit sledge, one excellent hunting dog, and, fortunately, a rifle. They will have to kill seals and shelter against the brutal cold if they are to survive. Alika has a further burden. If the floe does not hit land again, he knows they will drown as the ice inevitably breaks up in spring. This is a tense and exciting adventure story, interwoven with Inuit lore, history, and fascinating insights into life as a nomadic hunter. For ages 8-12, and a solid addition to any curriculum.