Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Review: Into the Unknown

Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air by Stewart Ross and illustrated by Stephen Biesty

This fantastic book describes fourteen journeys by men (and one woman) of exploration. It begins with an Ancient Greek man who journeys to the Arctic circle and ends with a man on the moon. Each one is selected not only for the forays into farther lands, deeper seas, higher altitudes and outer space, but also for the vessels and technology employed in the explorations.

Every chapter includes detailed drawings, maps, and at least one unfolding page that reveals more information on the voyage. The exciting narratives are perfectly complemented by these engaging drawings. I can imagine children poring over them. First Son is only interested in such things in moderation, but I know some more engineering-minded children that would not be able to put this book down until they read the very last page.

I read through the entire book just to make sure there wasn't anything derogatory of religion and found nothing at all (other than a brief mention that angels were not found at the highest altitudes). It is mainly silent on the ideas of Christianity and all other religions.

I do wish the authors had included a pronunciation guide either in the text or at the end for the names of people and places.

We'll be using this book a bit in our history studies next year. I think the chapters will be a good length to read aloud. The majority of the stories, though, will be used in our fourth year of history, starting with the 1700s.

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