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THE TRAVELS OF BENJAMIN OF TUDELA by Uri Shulevitz Kirkus Star

THE TRAVELS OF BENJAMIN OF TUDELA

Through Three Continents in the Twelfth Century

By Uri Shulevitz (Author) , Uri Shulevitz (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 6th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-37754-5
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Shulevitz recasts the impersonal account of a great medieval Jewish traveler, who set out to see as many of the places mentioned in the Bible as possible, as a first-person narrative threaded with vivid comments about smells, hazards, misfortunes, spectacles and local legends encountered along the way. The travelogue takes readers over land and water from Tudela in northern Spain to Rome’s Arch of Titus and on to Constantinople’s Christmas spectacle, through Syria to Crusader-held Jerusalem, then to Persia, and finally Egypt and Mount Sinai. To the text, Shulevitz adds grainy illustrations, done in muted colors and echoing the European pictorial style of the times, with crowd scenes and cityscapes shown in flattened perspective and small, clumsy-looking ships tossed upon wide seas. Capped by a long note and a meaty booklist, this, like James Rumford’s much briefer Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354 (2001), not only affords glimpses of distant, exotic places, but also captures the wonder and the terror of travel at a time when living through even a short trip was considered a miracle. (Picture book. 8-12)