Sailing the Unknown: Around the World with Captain Cook

Overview

In 1768, an 11-year-old sailor named Nicholas took to the seas with British explorer James Cook on a 3-year expedition of discovery, venturing into an uncharted world filled with strange lands, mysterious peoples, and peculiar creatures. Sailing the Unknown, written by Michael J. Rosen in the shorthand style of a historical journal and illustrated with panoramic vistas by Maria Cristina Pritelli, depicts this historic journey from the viewpoint of young Nick.

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Overview

In 1768, an 11-year-old sailor named Nicholas took to the seas with British explorer James Cook on a 3-year expedition of discovery, venturing into an uncharted world filled with strange lands, mysterious peoples, and peculiar creatures. Sailing the Unknown, written by Michael J. Rosen in the shorthand style of a historical journal and illustrated with panoramic vistas by Maria Cristina Pritelli, depicts this historic journey from the viewpoint of young Nick.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
…a strikingly illustrated picture book for older readers, piquantly evocative of centuries-old historical events…written with acuity and imagination…Maria Cristina Pritelli's illustrations, at once painterly and panoramic, are also intimate and approachable, as if Tintin had been dropped into the tableaus of an 18th-century seascape painter.
—Pamela Paul
From the Publisher
Nicholas Young, 11, circles the globe in this gorgeously illustrated seafaring adventure loosely based on journals of 18th-century explorer Capt. James Cook. Seasoned children's poet Rosen here creates the likable character of young protagonist Nick through spare journal entries describing his travels aboard Cook's first ship, Endeavour, which set sail from Plymouth, England, on August 19th, 1768, on a voyage of over 1,000 days. A young delinquent enlisted to serve aboard this exploratory vessel, Nick chronicles life as Endeavour's youngest sailor, tasked with menial jobs including care of the ship's milk goat, Navy. The voyage take Nick and Cook's sundry crew of sailors and scientists to then uncharted "Australis," stopping en route at the Canary Islands, the Equator-where crew members not having crossed before were "thrice dunked" in the sea-and Rio de Janeiro, as the Northern Hemisphere's summer morphs to the Southern's snowy winter. Further southwest, Nick is the first to spy New Zealand, where the ship is immediately beset by a rain of spears from the local Maori. Throughout this exotic discovery tale, Pritelli's finely wrought acrylics capture both the action and the otherworldly allure of strange lands, peoples and endless sea by casting them often in a milky blue, deep and mysterious as Picasso's. Visually stunning and packed with sophisticated language and intrigue, this young sailor's log is sure to hook any budding explorer. - Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—This spare, fictionalized diary from the youngest crew member aboard the Endeavour in 1768 recounts the events and adventures experienced by the sailors under the command of Captain James Cook, famed for landing in Australia. Nicholas Young, 11 years old at the outset of the journey, is in charge of the ship's milk goat and helps out in other ways when he can. He chronicles the nearly three-year expedition in journal entries that sway with the rhythm of a sailing ship, telling of the sights and sounds of the far-flung locations they encounter, from exotic animals and insects to groups of people so vastly different from himself. The drudgery of life aboard a ship is juxtaposed with the small moments of brightness and levity that crop up in the most unexpected places. Folk-art-style paintings continue the sea theme with the blues, grays, and greens of the ocean, adroitly conveying the vastness of the world they are exploring. Small border doodles highlight the humorous, or lighter times, such as the dunkings for those new to crossing the Equator. The artwork contains quite a bit of detail, and there is much for readers to pore over; Nick, in his Waldo-like striped shirt is a fun seek and find. A great introduction to exploration for young adventurers everywhere.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Nicholas Young, 11, circles the globe in this gorgeously illustrated seafaring adventure loosely based on journals of 18th-century explorer Capt. James Cook. Seasoned children's poet Rosen here creates the likable character of young protagonist Nick through spare journal entries describing his travels aboard Cook's first ship, Endeavour, which set sail from Plymouth, England, on August 19, 1768, on a voyage of over 1,000 days. A young delinquent enlisted to serve aboard this exploratory vessel, Nick chronicles life as Endeavour's youngest sailor, tasked with menial jobs including care of the ship's milk goat, Navy. The voyage takes Nick and Cook's sundry crew of sailors and scientists to then-uncharted "Australis," stopping en route at the Canary Islands, the Equator--where crew members not having crossed before were "thrice dunked" in the sea--and Rio de Janeiro, as the Northern Hemisphere's summer morphs to the Southern's snowy winter. Further southwest, Nick is the first to spy New Zealand, where the ship is immediately beset by a rain of spears from the local Maori. Throughout this exotic discovery tale, Pritelli's finely wrought acrylics capture both the action and the otherworldly allure of strange lands, peoples and endless sea by casting them often in a milky blue, deep and mysterious as Picasso's. Visually stunning and packed with sophisticated language and intrigue, this young sailor's log is sure to hook any budding explorer. (Picture book. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568462165
  • Publisher: Creative Company, The
  • Publication date: 8/29/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Rosen, creator of more than 90 books, holds degrees in zoology and poetry and served for nearly 20 years as literary director of the Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio.

Maria Cristina Pritelli is a self-taught Italian artist whose work has been published internationally and selected three times for the Illustrators Exhibition at the Bologna Children's Book Fair.

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