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EPIC VOYAGES by Robyn Mundy

EPIC VOYAGES

From the Epic Adventure series

By Robyn Mundy (Author) , Nigel Ruby (Author)

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7534-6574-5
Publisher: Kingfisher

Here is an instance of book design being as exciting as the subject matter, and this subject matter is pretty wild stuff: the legendary and legendarily hellacious voyages of Ferdinand Magellan, James Cook, Ernest Shackleton, Thor Heyerdahl and Francis Chichester. A main body of text describes these maritime adventures, while a galaxy of artwork (with well-fleshed-out captions) orbits about the page: maps, archival illustrations, photographs and paintings. The overall effect is thrumming and busy but not frantic. The text is intelligently written and allows the miraculous nature of each voyage to propel the story forward. The extended captions are the color commentary, adding bright bits of information that round out the picture: the first sighting of St. Elmo’s fire, the importance of the spice trade to exploration, why it is difficult to shave on a sailboat. The selection of artwork is excellent: handsome, moody engravings; lively watercolors by the participants; photographs of Heyerdahl’s crew catching sharks by the tail; and a great picture of Chichester’s boat all roughed up in the heavy weather of 50-foot seas. In addition, fold-out pages range from a rather natty cutaway view of Chichester’s Gipsy Moth IV to Cook’s navigational triumphs; the one for Shackleton billows into six full pages of icy misery. Just the ticket for armchair explorers. (Nonfiction. 10-14)