Around the World by Matt Phelan (Candlewick Press, 2011)
In graphic novel format, here are three accessible and riveting late nineteenth century journeys inspired by Jules Verne’s novel, Around the World in Eighty Days. Thomas Stevens makes the journey on a bicycle, back when the vehicle demanded bravura and balance. Reporter Nelly Bly packed a small suitcase and boarded a ship intent on recording stories. My favorite of the fascinating three episodes was the last, in which retired sea captain Joshua Slocum became the first person to sail alone around the world. I thought this succeeded best at what Matt Phelan, in his author’s note, wrote was his goal to depict not only what the character’s did, but why; to show an inner journey as well as a public one. I was gripped by the wash of blue and memories Joshua Slocum faced down, which felt as dangerous as wild weather and pirates. A wonderful choice for history buffs, or for those who haven’t experienced the riveting pull of the past — but may find it here.
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