Jason's Reviews > Around the World

Around the World by Matt Phelan
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's review
Dec 02, 11

bookshelves: books-for-kids, comics-and-graphic-novels

Around the World is a stunning marriage of history and fiction that reads like a memoir. The book recounts three journeys around the world by three amazing individuals, and offers some suggestions for how these journeys may have impacted personally the people who took them. Phelan (Storm in the Barn) has practically mastered the ability to convey important information using gorgeous watercolored panels and relatively little dialogue. He narrates the events enough to streamline their flow, but he also knows when to quit and let the illustrations narrate themselves. Particularly moving is the final story of Joshua Slocum, who sailed around the world in a little over three years in a small sailboat. The reader can feel his isolation, and it's not always oppressive. His interpretation of the death of Slocum's first wife and the impact it had on Slocum is especially compassionate and effectively validates Slocum as not just a name in a history book but a being of flesh and blood and sweat and tears.
Around the World teaches, inspires, entertains, and points the reader to something bigger. In the words of Nellie Bly: "If you *want* to do it, you *can* do it. The question is, Do you *want* to do it?
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