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The Story of Christopher Columbus

by Peter Sís & illustrated by Peter Sís

Age Range: 4 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-679-80628-8
Publisher: Knopf

 A brief, straightforward, uncontroversial summary of the events leading up to Columbus's first voyage and of the outward voyage itself--a book that serves to caption a series of dreamlike, highly imaginative illustrations blending the visual inspiration of 15th-century maps with this gifted Czech artist's perception of his own emigration as an escape from Europe's encircling walls. Stone walls are a unifying theme here, appearing as curtains around the first scene, as background in an album-like book displaying scenes from Columbus's childhood, as the surface over which the boy imagines sailing as he dreams of Marco Polo, or as the border of a glowing map of the known world, its only aperture opening off the page's edge to the west. Meanwhile, Sis makes fine decorative use of other motifs: sea monsters, starry skies and distant vistas, nautical instruments and ships. Contrasting meticulous detail with generously open space--delicately textured or luminous with color--is characteristic of Sis's work; here, style and theme are integrated in the splendid art. An unusually creative addition to the rapidly growing stack of books on Columbus. (Biography/Picture book. 4+)