“This book — riveting, wondrously drawn, expertly paced — is a triumph. — The New York Times
A Scott O’Dell Award–winning graphic novelist follows three dauntless adventurers on a Jules Verne–inspired challenge: circling the world, solo. With cinematic pacing and deft, expressive art, acclaimed storyteller and artist Matt Phelan weaves a trio of epic journeys into a single bold tale of visionaries setting their sights on nothing short of the world.
About the Author
Matt Phelan is the author-illustrator of the highly acclaimed and award-winning graphic novel THE STORM IN THE BARN. He is also the illustrator of many books for young readers, including ALWAYS and I'LL BE THERE by Ann Stott and THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY by Susan Patron, winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal. He lives in Philadelphia.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reason for Reading: I enjoy graphic biographies and while I wasn't too impressed with Matt Phelan's Storm in the Barn, thought I'd give him another go.This is the story of three late 19th century "around the world travelers". The book opens with the scene from Verne's famous book of the same name where Phileas Fogg makes his bet to travel around the world in 80 days. It was the publication of this book that inspired many real life adventurous types to set off and do the same thing. Told separately in three vignettes, the reader is introduced to the stories of three such adventurers, who each wrote a book documenting their travels. First up is Thomas Stevens a miner, who quits his job, takes up riding the new-fangled invention the bicycle and proceeds to travel around the world via bicycle (this was the penny-farthing bike at the time though he rode the American version). Next is the story of Nellie Bly, Girl Reporter who set out to beat Phileas Fogg's time and travel the world in 74 days while sending home news reports. The American public went wild for her stories. Finally, we are told the story of Joshua Slocum, retired sea captain, who fixes up a dilapidated little boat into a sea-worthy sailing ship and travels the world by sea. Each one of the stories is interesting and while having the same theme, unique from one another. Rather than being just a retelling of events, Phelan has chosen to portray each journey through the person's ultimate reasons as to why they conducted the voyage, their driving force and their eventual personal rewards. An enjoyable read. Not overly exciting, but interesting nonetheless. I can't say I'm particularly fond of Phelan's artistic style; his colours are drab and his watercolours are wishy-washy to my sensibilities, but he is a well known illustrator and obviously many others do appreciate his work. Certainly a unique topic and combination of stories.
A friend purchased a copy of Around the World for me because she remembered how much I enjoyed another of Matt Phelan’s works, The Dust in the Barn. I am glad to say that I enjoyed Around the World just as much. It is actually three different stories told in one graphic novel. The stories follow Thomas Stevens (a cyclist or “wheelman”), Joshua Slocum (a mariner), and Nellie Bly (a news reporter) on their individual journeys around the world. Each trip was a real adventure and took place in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Travel was very different in those days since people didn’t yet fly in airplanes. For example, to cross an ocean, you had to take a boat – a long and sometimes perilous mode of travel. If you were working against the clock, as was the case with Nellie Bly, waiting for boats to even leave harbor sometimes added not just hours but days to your travel. Stevens wasn’t going for any type of speed record during his trip around the world, but he was the first to do so on the newly-invented bicycle. Slocum sailed his way around the continents, struggling with the perils of the sea as well as loneliness. Phelan does an excellent job of showing what made each individual’s trip unique and exciting. He is a very talented illustrator and tries to make every panel meaningful for the story. I especially enjoy the expressions he gives his characters as they display a lot of emotion. This book was more light-hearted than The Dust in the Barn due to the different subject matter, and young readers should enjoy the adventures of the three people portrayed.