Thursday, October 27, 2011

Into The Unknown : How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea and Air

Title : Into The Unknown
Author : Stewart Ross
Illustrator : Stephen Biesty
Publisher : Walker Books

Age : 8+ years

Air, Water, Land - The three most fundamental requisites of life. With evolution and the development of complex brain cells, the human beings continued climbing the hierarchy of needs step by step. Once the faculties to satisfy the basic needs were developed and honed, the eagerness to know the environment arose and this led many inquisitive minds to think, imagine and question beyond what they could see. Their undying curiosity led them to take the never travelled paths, their determination equipped them to surpass mighty hurdles on their ways and their indomitable spirits eventually made them pioneers. The names of these individuals qualified to be engraved in the annals of history among the mortals who became immortals. As the author puts it - "The courage and determination of the individual men and women in this book are why we know so much about the beauty, majesty and mystery of our world."

Besides being the most essential life creating and sustaining elements - Land, Air and Water also provide the conduits to the explorers in their quest to know the unknown.

The book begins with the adventure of Pytheas the Greek - who sailed to the Arctic Circle in 340 BC in a very primitive boat without even having the very basic compass for assistance, to the year 1969 when history was made by the crew of Apollo 11 which landed on moon. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay do not need any introduction, their names have almost become synonymous to the mighty Mt. Everest. Through the stories behind each adventure and the vivid details presented with the illustrations, the readers actually feel like - sailing with Christopher Columbus to the Caribbean, circumnavigating the world with Ferdinand Magellan, crossing the Indian Ocean with Admiral Zheng, experiencing putting the first foot on moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and many more such exhilarating highs.

The commendable aspect of this book is how the content is arranged and depicted through illustrations. Each adventure comes with the zoomed in map of the specific region from where the journey began, the detailed route that the explorer took, the various navigation tools used on the way, the different gears used and the kind of boats/ships/airships/gondolas/rockets that took them closer to their dreams.

The cover page of the book is a complete delight. It is actually a folded world map and on opening it, you get a full view of all the significant explorations with exact paths charted out. A great book that gives detailed information about how the efforts of some of the adventurous minds help put the puzzle pieces of our world together for us to understand and savor.

Image Source : GoodReads


Arundhati said...

Sounds really interesting, I think P will love this book. Thank you!

We have been tracing explorers' routes using wikipedia, with the maps engineering aspect - details about tools and equipment - the book should be a big hit :)

Where can I get this book? Found it on amazon but not on flipkart. Any store in Bangalore?

Vibha said...

Arundhati, then this is the perfect book for you.
It is available on flipkart. You will have to enter the complete title in the search space.

Arundhati said...

Thanks Vibha, got it now. Looking forward to sharing it with P very soon :)

sathish said...

vibha, I have this on my list for a long time now. Your review pushes it up in the list.

Meera Sriram said...

Very interesting! Put in on hold at the lib. Eager to explore with the kids:)

Anusha said...

sounds like a delight. a very compelling review, Vibha, well presented.

Choxbox said...

We have been exploring away as well - though using big fat coffee books. Off to check this one out - thanks V. Great pick!

Vibha said...

Thanks all of you :)

This book is a good reference book and great keepsake.

sandhya said...

Wow! Sounds like a wonderful book! A similar book that we have enjoyed is "The Story of Exploration" by Usborne books.

ranjani.sathish said...

As Anusha said, it is a very compelling review and I think all of us at home would love to read this book ! Thanks for this pick Vibha.

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