Monday, May 1, 2017

Adventuring Through the Orient: Richard Halliburton's Complete Book of Marvels

Mater Amabilis™™Level 3 recommends Richard Halliburton's Complete Book of Marvels, spread over the two years of the level, the Occident in Year 1 (sixth grade) and the Orient in Year 2 (seventh grade). I wrote about the Occident and how much I loved it last year. The Orient was just as riveting. In it, Halliburton continues his travels with a group of young people through Europe and Asia.

In the second chapter, exploring Halicarnassus, Halliburton writes:
How sad, how cruel, that this world should have been so completely destroyed; for was it not, perhaps, a better world than ours? We have radios and airplanes and motorcars, but Demetrius and Diomede, like most Greeks of that Golden Age in history, had the time and the desire to love beauty, and to understand beauty, and to live for beauty.
In the chapter on Timbucktoo, the author describes how he purchased slaves on a previous visit. He cared for them well and, in the end, paid the slave dealer to take them back. I'm not sure what would have been better and perhaps it wasn't possible, but it seems like he should have at least explained why he didn't set them free. The story is quite funny as the slaves act like the children they are and frequently take off their few clothes.

The chapter on Victoria Falls is particularly beautiful, as befits the Wonder.
Before us and below us screams a hurricane of bursting water. We are on the downstream rim of the chasm, the rim which faces the falls. The curtain of water, opposite, is only 250 feet away, but we can not see it. For in this narrow abyss in front of us, and for half a mile on either side, the Zambezi seems rather to explode than fall. The violent blasts of wind shoot the clouds of smoke far up into the sky. These clouds condense and fall again and rise again, in perpetual motion and never-ending fury. They beat upon us and blind us. The shock of so much power dashing downward at our feet is physically painful. We are half-drowned in spray. 
The book ends on the peak of Mount Fuji in Japan as the sun rises.
Lifted up into this holy realm, on the white crown of the magic peak, we too stand there, as moved, as lost in rapture, as the kneeling, praying pilgrims. And as we watch the miracle of the morning unfold, each of us, after his own fashion, gives thanks to the Master Hand that made the beauty and the wonder of the world. 
As last year, I assigned some mapwork in his Geography Coloring Book as it was appropriate. I bought this book a few years ago and we use it over and over again, coloring in new pages as we work through geography and other lessons.

Chapter 1 - Color Turkey and Greece on p 18.
Chapter 2 - Mark where Halicarnassus would have been on the map on p 30.
Chapter 3 - Color the island of Rhodes on p 30.
Chapter 4 - Color what you can of Egypt on p 30.
Chapter 5 - Nothing this week.
Chapter 6 - Nothing this week.
Chapter 7 - Color the part of Crete shown on p 30.
Chapter 8 - Mark Tibuctoo on p 37.
Chapter 9 - Mark Victoria Falls on p 37.
Chapter 10 - Color Saudi Arabia on p 31.
Chapter 11 - Color Jordan on p 30.
Chapter 12 - Color Israel on p 30.
Chapter 13 - Color Cyprus on p 30.
Chapter 14 - Color Lebanon on p 30.
Chapter 15 - Color Syria on p 30.
Chapter 16 - Nothing this week.
Chapter 17 - Color Iraq on p 31.
Chapter 18 - Color Kuwait on p 31
Chapter 19 - Color Iran on p 31.
Chapter 20 - Color India on p 32.
Chapter 21 - Color Pakistan on p 32.
Chapter 22 - Color Afghanistan on p 32.
Chapter 23 - Color Bhutan on p 32.
Chapter 24 - Color Nepal on p. 32. Also read The Top of the World by Steve Jenkins.
Chapter 25 - Color China on p 33.
Chapter 26 - Color Mongolia on p 33. 
Chapter 27 - Color Sri Lanka on p 32.
Chapter 28 - Color Cambodia on p 34.
Chapter 29 - Color North and South Korea on p 33.
Chapter 30 - Color Japan on p 33.

First Son's copy of the Geography Coloring Book is an older one, but First Daughter has the third edition and I checked that the page numbers are still accurate.

The Book of Marvels remains my favorite book of Level 3.

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