So You Want to Be an Explorer?

Overview

So you want to be an explorer? What does it take, you ask? To find out, take a look at Judith St. George and David Small?s witty collection of some of the best explorers the world has ever known.You know Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, but what about Mary Kingsley, who studied cannibals in Africa, or cowboy Jim White, who, by mistake, found Carlsbad Caverns?

Full of boundless energy and illustrations you won?t forget, this historical jaunt...

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Overview

So you want to be an explorer? What does it take, you ask? To find out, take a look at Judith St. George and David Small’s witty collection of some of the best explorers the world has ever known.You know Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, but what about Mary Kingsley, who studied cannibals in Africa, or cowboy Jim White, who, by mistake, found Carlsbad Caverns?

Full of boundless energy and illustrations you won’t forget, this historical jaunt will inspire the explorer in all of us, young and old.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The team behind the Caldecott-winning So You Want to Be President? introduces another all-star cast in So You Want to Be an Explorer? by Judith St. George, illus. by David Small. The duo that presented readers with, in PW's words, "a clever and engrossing approach to the men who have led America" now traverses the globe with territory covered by such luminaries as 13th-century Marco Polo and 19th-century Mary Kingsley (who "looked like a proper lady. But under her long skirts? Men's trousers"), with portraits that are part caricature, part history lesson. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Fifty-nine different explorers are mentioned in this title, ranging through time periods from the fourth century BC (Pytheas, a Greek geographer and navigator) to present time (Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project), and through the alphabet from Buzz Aldrin (astronaut) to Charles Yeager (Brigadier General who flew combat missions in Vietnam). Well-known explorers such as Alexander the Great, Vasco de Balboa, Christopher Columbus, Leif Eriksson, Thor Heyerdahl, Henry Hudson, Ferdinand Magellan, and Amerigo Vespucci are included. Women given the nod are Gertrude Bell, Amelia Earhart, Mary Kingsley, Sacagawea, and Barbara Washburn. This rapid-fire reference to the various explorers blasts the reader with no discernable organizational plan. The first page mentions Marco Polo first (1271) and then Mary Kingsley (1890). The illustration shows only Ms. Kinglsey. The second page mentions Alexander the Great (334 B.C.) and Thor Heyerdahl (1947). The illustration is of King Alex. The format continues in this vein, mentioning several people on each page. Small's signature cartoonlike illustrations provide humor and interest, but each one features only one explorer and ignores the others. This format could be confusing to young readers, especially because there is no discernable connection among the explorers presented together. The "Glossary of Famous Explorers" in the back includes years of birth and death and a one-sentence summary of each explorer. A page number referring to the persons mentioned in the book is not included but would have been helpful. There is a short bibliography of sources. The book could possibly be used as a read aloud to initiate a discussion about what anexplorer is and some of the challenges available to explorers today 2005, Philomel Books/Penguin, Ages 5 to 9.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Another offering from the creative team that brought readers So You Want to Be President? (2000) and So You Want to Be an Inventor? (2002, both Philomel).The artist frames the text with a wordless depiction of a young boy trying on different hats in his room filled with a variety of artifacts. The text then seems to address the daydreaming child directly as he envisions himself setting sail for adventure. Most spreads describe two or more explorers, but only one is depicted. Small's masterful artwork, done in ink, watercolor, and pastel chalk, is full of humorous details. The explorers are primarily European and American, but cover a wide-ranging time period, from Pytheas and Alexander the Great to the present day. A short paragraph describes their claim to fame. The book is intended to inspire and intrigue browsers, not to serve as a resource for report writers. St. George includes a wide variety of explorers and expedition participants. For example, when she discusses the North Pole, Robert Peary, Matthew Henson, and four Inuits are mentioned. Women such as Mary Kingsley, Amelia Earhart, and Barbara Washburn are cited. The relationship between exploration and mapmaking and the damage done to native peoples by some explorers are also touched upon. A "Glossary of Famous Explorers" lists full names and birth and death dates, and provides a little more information about the people mentioned. While the short snippets of information may be frustrating to some readers, the snappy tone of the text and the richly drawn illustrations will satisfy and entertain many others.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
For young readers who don't fancy becoming President (2000) or an Inventor (2002), St. George offers another career path-actually, several dozen paths, as under the aegis of "explorer" she includes not only such familiar figures as Columbus, Mary Kingsley, Amelia Earhart and Yuri Gagarin, but also a lengthy roster that includes the likes of test pilot Chuck Yeager, human genome mappers Francis Collins and Craig Venter, and David Kunst, who walked around the world. Readers will come away with a clear idea of what these and their fellow travelers accomplished, and when-and, more important, a sense of the courage, curiosity and other personal qualities that impelled them. She writes in an exuberant style-"Explorers tackle a quest with gusto. 'Great' wasn't added to Alexander's name for nothing. . . . "-that Small's larger than life, extravagantly wrought caricatures echo perfectly. First-class inspirational reading: funny, fluent and on target. (biographical "glossary") (Nonfiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399238680
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/8/2005
  • Pages: 56
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.38 (w) x 11.76 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith St. George has published dozens of successful nonfiction books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning So You Want to Be President? and the historical Turning Point series, including You’re On Your Way, Teddy RooseveltStand Tall, Abe Lincoln; and Take the Lead, George Washington. You can visit her online at www.judithstgeorge.com.

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