Thursday, August 25, 2011

setting records

Matt Phelan carries readers along on several historic voyages in AROUND THE WORLD (Candlewick, October 2011). In graphic novel form with little text, Phelan relates the travels and travails of Thomas Stevens who, in 1884 traveled around the world on a bicycle. Nellie Bly, woman journalist, challenged the record of Jules Verne's characters by travelling around the world in 1889. Finally, mariner Joshua Slocum sailed around the world in 1895. Phelan's art tells much of the three stories. He relies on color, facial expressions, and the reactions of others along the route to let readers know what is happening. <415>

There is no doubt that Phelan has mastered the craft of telling stories through spare words and deceptively simple illustrations. Reading about these three adventures may well spur readers to track down longer works about each of these journeys including the books written by each of these travelers.

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