Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air

Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air
written by Stewart Ross; illustrated by Stephen Biesty
2011 (Candlewick Press)
Source: Orange County Public Library

The story of exploration is not just about technological advances; it's also about people. - Stewart Ross and Stephen Biesty

Into the Unknown presents fourteen journeys that transformed our knowledge of this planet. These accounts include Pytheas the Greek, who sailed far north from his home almost 2,500 years ago, Leif Eriksson, Marco Polo, Admiral Zheng, Columbus, Magellan, Captain Cook, and several others who blazed new paths. It ends with a journey out of this world, the flight of Apollo 11.  Told in chronological order, each section provides a fascinating narrative that recounts the journey of each explorer or explorers. Accompanying these narratives is some of the best artwork I have seen for a nonfiction book. The stand alone illustrations are terrific by themselves with detailed labels providing important information, but the real stars of this book are the unfolding cutaways and cross sections. On the fold of one piece of paper in the section on the ascent up Mt. Everest, you see a cut out of a mountaineer and the equipment he would use for climbing above 20,000 feet. On the top half of that same piece, you get a detailed map of the path from Kathmandu to the base camp for the journey up Mt. Everest. On the back side, there is a fold out of the path from the base camp to the summit of Everest. There are 14 of these incredibly detailed cut outs in this book! I would have journeyed into unknown lands as a kid to get my hands on a book like this. You can spend hours examining and reexamining the pages and not get bored. For twenty dollars, this book is a bargain.

2 comments:

  1. For some reason, I've never really taken to (1) animal books and (2) books about ships/boats. Although of course there are occasional exceptions. I like your review - would definitely check this out. Kind of reminded me of Richard Platt's Diaries series - he had one called Pirate Diary - I reviewed this sometime during the early part of the year, I believe. I have a feeling you'd love his picture books. Historical fiction. :)

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  2. Think this would be a great one to take into a book club meeting (have 8 and ups). Thanks for highlighting it!

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