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Marco Polo

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For many children, Marco Polo means a water game. But the historical Polo was a fascinating man who, at 17, left his native Venice to embark on a series of journeys with his father and uncle in 1271, not to return for 24 years. This ``diary'' (an invention of the author's, based on Polo's own book) chronicles many of his adventures--crossing the Gobi Desert on camelback; visiting such far-flung places as Armenia, Persia and Sumatra; serving as the Kublai Khan's governor in Yan-gui, China--and his encounters with ``marvels'' we take for granted nowadays, such as paper money and a postal system. While the breezy format of the ``diary'' is gratingly simplistic, it may whet readers' appetites by highlighting a few of Polo's experiences. It's a clever idea, and one that's ripe for the schoolroom, providing an abundance of material that could easily be used to enliven class discussions. The subtle visuals--prints, maps, woodcuts, a snippet of Chinese tapestry--provide an appropriately educational backdrop. Ages 5-10. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-- Young Marco Polo tells his own story, in diary format, from 1271 when he, his father, and his uncle sailed from Venice until their return some 24 years and many adventures later. Theirs was an age of little and perilous travel, so Polo's tales of distant Persia, China, the Gobi Desert, India, Ceylon, and more were wildly sensational, and to be sure lost nothing in the telling. This handsome notebook allows Polo to relate the wonders he saw, the dreams he dreamed, and increasingly as the years wore on, his longing for his beloved Venice. It is a weakness in the execution of the convention, however, that even though the entries span over 20 years, the diarist's voice remains that of a young, naive lad throughout, and not the convincing portrait of a successful businessman and diplomat. With its tinted pages and slightly colored engravings that suggest antiquity and capture the flavor of the age, this book should be regarded as an intriguing jumping-off place for those interested in the man and his travels, rather than as a reference or research aid. Thought-provoking and pleasing to the eye rather than exciting or practical. --Joan McGrath, Education Centre Library, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385265553
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/1/1991
  • Edition description: 1st ed. in USA
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years

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