Colorful and compact, these volumes offer solid entry-level reading that is nearly on a par with good adventure fiction. The texts are lively and accessible, and the illustrations are well chosen and diverse: maps, portraits, facsimile letters and documents, historical drawings and paintings, and even photographs of the present-day places that these explorers once roamed. Plentiful sidebars extract main ideas from each chapter or offer interesting trivia about the men and their times. The authors provide a detailed background of the political, social, and sometimes religious forces that inspired the explorers to venture into the unknown. . . . While these books contain the same basic information found in comparable biographies, their concise, attractive format and crisp writing give them a substantial edge. This is engaging nonfiction that students might first pick up to write a report and then end up reading cover to cover.
--School Library Journal on Ferdinand Magellan and the First Voyage Around the World, Juan Ponce de León and the Search for the Fountain of Youth, and Daniel Boone and the Exploration of the Frontier.
These absorbing profiles of explorers from uniquely different periods of history are ideal for novice report writers. Their concise and accessible texts, attractive page layouts, and excellent illustrations make them appealing. Vikings draws on maps, folktales, and artifacts to trace the movement of Scandinavian warriors through North Atlantic islands to the inhospitable American continent. Cousteau reveals that the former French naval office, best known for his exquisite films of marine life, spent his early years actually designing and refining much of the equipment necessary to take divers and cameras to remote undersea regions. Sacagawea re-creates the woman's adventurous journey with Lewis and Clark and discusses her longevity as an American legend, including her appearance on the new gold dollar coin. All three volumes offer excitement and intrigue by constantly posing the unanswered questions that still surround these explorers: Were the Vikings really the first Europeans to set foot in North America five centuries before Columbus? Are there secrets yet to be revealed in the ocean's depths? What really happened to Sacagawea after she took leave of the Corps of Discovery? These books invite readers to jump in and explore these questions themselves.
--School Library Journal on The Viking Explorers, Jacques Cousteau and the Undersea World, and Sacagawea: Guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
These volumes follow a winning formula: accessible text, abundant and diverse illustrative material, and sidebars that distill the main ideas of each chapter. . . . Saffer offers a colorful portrayal of Hudson as a shrewd and headstrong adventurer who repeatedly ignored the contractual orders of his benefactors and set sail wherever his whims took him. The chapter detailing Hudson's 1609 voyage to present-day Staten Island and New Jersey, diverting up the river that would bear his name, is particularly lively. Shields extols Cabot's entrepreneurial skills and credits him with bringing into focus the topography of the land. Both authors succeed in describing the political, social, and religious intrigue that swirled around their subjects and constantly affected their lives. These books will find eager audiences among report writers and browsers looking for high adventure.
--School Library Journal on Henry Hudson: Ill-Fated Explorer of North America's Coast and John Cabot and the Rediscovery of North America.
The oceans, space, and Mt. Everest, as well as the usual topics of North American exploration, will not only provide report material but also engage general readers. All books in this series follow the same format: six easy-to-read chapters discussing the topic, illustrations, fact boxes containing information not repeated in the text, a chronology, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index. . . . A welcome addition to any school or public library because the subjects are those often requested for reports. Will help libraries update their explorer collections. Highly recommended.
--The Book Report on Sacagawea: Guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Reaching for the Moon: The Apollo Astronauts, Jacques Cartier and the Exploration of Canada, LaSalle and the Exploration of the Mississippi, Sir Francis Drake and the Foundation of a World Empire, The Viking Explorers, Theodore Roosevelt and the Exploration of the Amazon Basin, Jacques Cousteau and the Undersea World, Sir Edmund Hillary: Modern-Day Explorer, and Francisco Pizarro and the Conquest of the Inca.
Two books that are accessible and well organized. The covers are attractive, showing a photo of the subject along with two related photos. The first sections offer an interesting account of the featured explorer's most famous contributions and experiences. The remaining chapters outline his life, beginning with his childhood, but stopping long enough to give young readers a glimpse of the driving force behind the individual's personality. Along the way, good-quality photographs; sidebars; and primary sources such as documents, letters, and maps help relate the facts. Although there is an array of explorer biographies out there, these books are fresh, appealing, and well written.
--School Library Journal on Sir Edmund Hillary: Modern-Day Explorer and Sir Francis Drake and the Foundation of a World Empire.