You Wouldn't Want to Sail with Christopher Columbus!: Uncharted Waters You'd Rather Not Cross (Revised Edition)by Fiona Macdonald, David Antram
Children's Literature - Lisa CzirrTraveling to the New World with Christopher Columbus sounds like a thrilling idea… or does it? This informational book, part of the “You Wouldn’t Want to…” series, explores Columbus’ journey from the viewpoint of a young crew member. By using the second person perspective and present tense language throughout, the author personalizes the content, inviting the reader to closely consider what the voyage would have been like. The writing style is conversational, so the subject matter does not seem dry. The presentation of the information varies; a block of text conveys the main idea and smaller detailed facts are scattered throughout each page. “Handy Hints” boxes are reminiscent of any “how to” book, humorously providing factual survival tips. Detailed illustrations employ plenty of comical aspects, including speech bubbles and exaggerated facial expressions. The front and back end pages are packed with information, including a timeline of Columbus’ life and details about other explorers. Fortunately, the book does not ignore the realities of Columbus’ character or the trip itself. The unpleasantness of life aboard ship and the mutinous sentiment among the crew are mentioned, as is Columbus’ mistreatment of the Native Americans. The overall impact of his voyage is discussed, including both the positives and negatives. An index and glossary both add to the book’s usefulness for a social studies lesson. Engaging writing and illustrations make this book an exciting read, even for the student who normally would not pick up an informational text. Reviewer: Lisa Czirr; Ages 8 to 12.
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