Incredible journeys: discovery, adventure, danger, endurance by Levison Wood
Illus: by Sam Brewster. Wren and Rook, 2019. ISBN: 9781526360434.
(Age: 8-14) Recommended. Themes: World exploration, World explorers - Alexander the Great, Vikings, Christopher Columbus, Magellan and Drake, Captain James Cook, The Silk Road, Amelia Earhart. This book is a shining light on the adventurous spirit of those who have explored the world and opened the way for trade, adventure and travel to those who have followed their path or been inspired by their fortitude. Levison Wood is himself an explorer and adventurer of some repute, even though he is not yet 40 years old. With a background in the British Parachute Regiment, he has also travelled extensively in some of the world's most difficult terrains and circumstances - traveling the length of the Nile and of the Himalayas as an example. His curiosity, bravery and pursuit of knowledge as he traverses the world makes him the perfect person to inspire a new generation of explorers.
The book details the routes and experiences of many early explorers whose exploits are well known. The list of these important people includes Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus. He also details other lesser known explorers whose pursuits are also significant and includes the details of many women who were able to defy the stereotypes of their generation and venture into obscure territory. Their stories are not so well known, but they too were breaking new ground and exploring new possibilities. Interspersed with personal reflections of Wood's own journeys through the lands and routes of the historically famous explorers are annotated maps and also some general information about how to pursue 'exploring' for younger readers.
Illustrations by Sam Brewster are naively detailed and the colour palette is limited, but the overall impact is still appealing for young readers.
Recommended for ages 8-14, and especially for those of an intrepid nature or who are 'armchair' explorers.