Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta 1325-1354

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Overview

James Rumford, himself a world traveler, has retold Ibn Battuta’s story in words and pictures, adding the element of ancient Arab maps—maps as colorful and evocative as a Persian miniature, as intricate and mysterious as a tiled Moroccan wall. Into this arabesque of pictures and maps is woven the story not just of a traveler in a world long gone but of a man on his journey through life.

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Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354

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Overview

James Rumford, himself a world traveler, has retold Ibn Battuta’s story in words and pictures, adding the element of ancient Arab maps—maps as colorful and evocative as a Persian miniature, as intricate and mysterious as a tiled Moroccan wall. Into this arabesque of pictures and maps is woven the story not just of a traveler in a world long gone but of a man on his journey through life.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
"Traveling—it gives you a home in a thousand strange places, then leaves you a stranger in your own land." This quote captures the essence of Ibn Battuta, a 14th century Muslim scholar who spent 30 years traveling over 75,000 miles throughout parts of Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Based on Battuta's actual retellings to a Moroccan court secretary and the author's careful research about the languages, maps, travel and artifacts of the times, this biographical picture book is a complex artistic marvel. Each double-page spread highlights an event from Battuta's travels and carries a title as a chapter book might, for example, "At the Edge of the World," or "Death as Black as Night." Typically, on one page is a first person journal-like entry, the text presented formally inside a colorfully framed box; on the facing page a lush Persian miniature style painting illustrates the event, such as Battuta riding a camel across part of Africa or sailing a boat in the Maldives. Backgrounds for the illustrations and boxed text feature calligraphy in Arabic, Chinese, Persian or English and are detailed with artifacts, designs and patterns associated with the various historical locales and cultures. Translations of the calligraphy appear with the endnotes but were difficult to use. A glossary, maps and author's note authenticate the depth of the writer's knowledge and research. The endpapers, formatted and captioned like a sort of ancient photo album, have gorgeous inky blue renderings of the places Battuta visited and the various companions he met along the way. Without sacrificing the flavor and accuracy of the era, Rumford's freshly imagined use of color, design and format move hiswork beyond illustration into the realm of museum-quality painting. Traveling Man is a 2002 Robert F. Sibert Informational book honor recipient. 2001, Houghton Mifflin, $16.00. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Darcy H. Bradley
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-"In the days when the earth was flat and Jerusalem was the center of the world, there was a boy named Ibn Battuta." So begins this introduction to the journeys of this historically important but probably little-known, 14th-century Muslim figure. Born in Morocco and raised as a scholar, he began his 29 years of travel in 1325 when, "At twenty-one, he decided to go to Mecca as a pilgrim." He went on through Africa, across the steppes of Asia, into India and China, and back to Morocco where "he told his story to the Moroccan court secretary Ibn Juzayy, who wrote it down in Arabic." Rumford's simply written adaptation is often surprisingly eloquent. For example, Ibn Battuta comments on his voyage: "Traveling-it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." "Traveling-it had captured my heart, and now my heart was calling me home." On each page, a portion of the text appears within its own bright white narrow road crossing elegantly bordered illustrations that shine with generous amounts of gold, red, and deep blue. This text also flows into and out of larger frames. The artist adorns many of these illustrations with Arabic and Chinese calligraphy, providing translations for the longer phrases at the end of the book. A few maps are included and they are executed with the same attention to presentation. A glossary of names, places, and important words provides essential information in an accessible format. Simply put, this is a beautifully crafted work that will undoubtedly spark interest and encourage further study.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"An awe-inspiring tale, evocatively presented, and perfect for armchair travelers." Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Simply put, this is a beautifully crafted work that will undoubtedly spark interest and encourage further study." School Library Journal, Starred

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618432332
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/25/2004
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 541,909
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Master storyteller James Rumford combines his love for art and history in his picture books. Each of his books is vastly different in its content, design, and illustrations but one aspect remains constant throughout his work: his passion about his subjects. Rumford, a resident of Hawaii, has studied more than a dozen languages and worked in the Peace Corps, where he traveled to Africa, Asia, and Afghanistan. He draws from these experiences and the history of his subject when he is working on a book. His book Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing was a 2005 Sibert Honor winner.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2005

    Ibn Battutu Stinks

    Traveling Man was definitely not to my taste. It lacked an interesting historical content and storyline. It didn't have a good plot(at all). The main character was not interesting. The illistration of the horse was demented.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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