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Cover image for Around the world
Around the world
1st U.S. ed.
Publication Information:
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2011.
Physical Description:
235 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 22 cm.
Reading Level:
GN 710 L Lexile
Challenged with circling the world at the end of the nineteenth century, three very different adventurers--avid bicyclist Thomas Stevens, fearless reporter Nellie Bly, and retired sea captain Joshua Slocum--embark on epic journeys.


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A Scott O'Dell Award-winning graphic novelist follows three dauntless adventurers on a Jules Verne-inspired challenge: circling the world, solo!

As the nineteenth century wound down, a public inspired by the novel Around the World in Eighty Days clamored for intrepid adventure. The challenge of circumnavigating the globe as no one ever had before--a feat assuring fame if not fortune--attracted the fearless in droves. Three hardy spirits stayed the course: In 1884, former miner Thomas Stevens made the journey on a bicycle, the kind with a big front wheel. In 1889, pioneer reporter Nellie Bly embarked on a global race against time that assumed the heights of spectacle, ushering in the age of the American celebrity. And in 1895, retired sea captain Joshua Slocum quietly set sail on a thirty-six-foot sloop, braving pirates and treacherous seas to become the first person to sail around the world alone. With cinematic pacing and deft, expressive art, acclaimed graphic novelist Matt Phelan weaves a trio of epic journeys into a single bold tale of three visionaries who set their sights on nothing short of the world.

Author Notes

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.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the wake of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, the desire to circumnavigate the globe ran rampant, as Phelan (The Storm in the Barn) illustrates in this oddly unexciting tale of three such adventure seekers. In 1884, Thomas Stevens, a former miner, vows to cross the U.S. by bicycle, then a newfangled mode of transportation. After successfully traveling from coast to coast, Stevens decides to continue on to Europe via ship, and on through India and China before ending his 13,500-mile journey in Japan. Nellie Bly, by far the most interesting globetrotter seen here, departs New York in 1889 as a reporter with the goal of traveling around the world in 74 days, beating Verne's fictional Phileas Fogg. Sending dispatches back during her long steamer and train journey-during which she briefly meets Verne in France-Bly's ticking clock adds an element of suspense. Finally, in 1892, Massachusetts sea captain Joshua Slocum sets sail alone on the Spray, intending to sail around the world. Despite visitations from his dead wife and rough weather to liven up the voyage, his journey is comparatively dull. Little differentiates the three stories visually and the elements begin to blur, the result as flat as a breezeless sea. Ages 9-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

"It all began, as many great adventures begin, with a story," and Phelan begins this handsome graphic novel with Phileas Fogg at London's Reform Club in 1872, challenging members with his proposition: to tour the world in eighty days. Thus, Jules Verne's classic novel becomes the springboard for three remarkable narratives about real-life journeys in the spirit of Phileas Fogg. In 1884, Thomas Stevens was a miner with a dream of doing something bigger. Though he had never ridden a bike, he bought one for $110 and decided to ride across the United States, then around the world. In 1889, Nellie Bly aimed to beat Fogg's eighty days. Where the bicycle was the center of Stevens's story, Nellie Bly herself is the story, representing the New York World for a readership wanting to see the world through her eyes. And in 1895, Joshua Slocum sailed around the world, the first person to do so alone. Phelan success ully weaves graphically told stories with third-person narratives, the travelers' own words, and, in Nellie Bly's case, words of reporters. This volume is as stunning as his Scott O'Dell Award-winning The Storm in the Barn (rev. 11/09), with more text and with eye-catching illustrations rendered in pencil, ink, gouache, and watercolor. dean schneider (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Chronicling the true trip-around-the-world adventures of three nineteenth-century adventurers gives Phelan the opportunity to once again examine the Great American Narrative, as he did so effectively in his beautifully mythological The Storm in the Barn (Booklist Top of the List, 2009). While examining Thomas Stevens' bicycle journey, feminist-ahead-of-her-time reporter Nellie Bly's race to beat Phileas Fogg's imaginary record, and Joshua Slocum's solitary globe circumnavigation on a sailboat, Phelan does not fail to explore their inner journeys as well. Though any one of the tales (particularly Bly's) could well have supported an entire book, juxtaposing the three allows Phelan to cast a wider psychological net, and the stories encompass such national ideals as dogged can-do spirit, exploration, enterprise, and commercialism, while never straying from the characters' personal worlds or out of age-appropriate territory. In addition to tight research and a gift for evoking both an era and the personalities that lived in it, the stories are greatly abetted by the magic of Phelan's art: washes of light and dark that set the tone and effortless, uncomplicated (yet highly distinctive) faces that are the very essence of determination and adventure.--Karp, Jesse Copyright 2010 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-8-In the late 19th century, adventurous individuals felt inspired to circumnavigate the globe on a tight timetable: via bicycle (Thomas Stevens), by steamer and train (Nellie Bly), or on a 36-foot sloop (Joshua Slocum). In this graphic novel, Phelan deftly records these remarkable journeys in expressive artwork and paneled sequences that capture the travelers' personalities and propel them toward the next horizon. (Sept.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

With uncommon perception and a flair for visual drama, Phelan tracks three intrepid souls' solo journeys around the world.In 1884, Thomas Stevens rode a bicycle from San Francisco to Boston, and then decided to extend the outingto Yokohama. Journalist Nellie Bly set out in 1889 to beat the 80-day schedule suggested in Jules Verne's novel (meeting the encouraging author along the way and bettering the novel's time by two days). Mariner Joshua Slocum took the most circuitous route, sailing over 46,000 miles between 1895 and 1898 accompanied only by poignant memories of his first wife. Adding brief bridging captions or snatches of dialogue to quoted comments from their subsequent memoirs, Phelan highlights the experiences and reflections of each in cinematic sequences of delicately drawn panels. By focusing on the travelers' faces, he captures their distinct characters (and shared rock-steady determination) with such force and clarity that readers can't help but be swept along by Stevens' aggressive mustache, Bly's steely glare at male doubters and nay-sayers, the aching heart visible behind Slocum's tough, grizzled countenance. The author rounds off each account with an epilogue, then closes with a thoughtful note and a source list.Three true tales of adventure as grand and admirable in the telling as they were in the doing. (Graphic nonfiction. 10-13)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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