BOOK REVIEWS

Animals Marco Polo Saw: An Adventure on the Silk Road (Explorer Series) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-01-14 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 2 user ratings
ISBN:081185051X
LANGUAGE:English

" Will appeal to travel enthusiasts, history buffs, and lovers of art. Well made book with lush paintings, wonderful finish on the pages, and informative and lively text to accompany the illustrations. " said.

" I thought it was good but my kids were only partially interested--some pages, like being attacked by bandits had them back by my side completely listening, but overall the story is told in a rather dry way. " said.

" We read this picture book to complement our Middle Ages history lesson about explorers. " said.

" I picked this up because I like Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini's artwork. And I really liked the artwork. But this is also a nice early middle grade/middle grade non-fiction book on Marco Polo and some of his travels. Enjoyed this one a lot. " said.

"Inside Cover:
In 1271, the great explorer Marco Polo set off on an adventure f a lifetime -- traveling the Silk Road by horseback with his father and uncle, from Italy to Cathay (modern-day China) and beyond, to learn about the family's silk cloth business and to meet the great emperor of China -- Kublai Khan. As he traveled through Eastern Europe, the Middle East, across Mt. Ararat, and into the Far East, Marco Polo was amazed by the people he met, by how different the landscape looked, and by the many unusual animals he encountered along his great journey. From giant Asian elephants to Persian lions, this is the story of the historic adventures of Marco Polo and the animals he saw along the way.
" said.

"I was actually a bit disappointed in this book, which I read because one of my GR friends liked it. I think that, had I been expecting more of a story about Marco Polo, I might have enjoyed it more, but the title and the friend's review let me to believe there would be more of the story about the animals. Instead, they seem to be mentioned, almost as an afterthought on the pages where they appear. The people and places seem to be much more a focus of the story. I do like the illustrations, though." said.

"I think I have three other similar books on their way to me, but this is the first book in the Explorer series I’ve read. I’m so impressed with the children’s non-fiction picture books now available, this being one.

This is a superb book about Marco Polo’s travels, written & illustrated for elementary school aged children. It’s a wonderful way to learn this history.

It’s a short chapter book, and the chapters do have titles. There are 15 chapters, a glossary, a For More Information section (books, video, web site), and an index, all in 45 pages, including many pictures. There is also a wonderful map with pictorial content.

Reading this book is a fabulous way to learn about history, natural history, nature, various fauna, exploration, geography, information about books before the printing press was invented, and so much more, and all that information is seamlessly integrated in a rather lively account of Marco Polo’s travels. The contents are about much more than the animals Marco Polo saw.

The illustrations are gorgeous, with many intricacies to view. The pictures are amazing. They’re worthy paintings in their own right, but here they enormously enhance the narrative.

4 ½ stars
" said.

"As an extensive but still basic enough and concise enough introduction in picture book format to the life and times of Marco Polo (and of course in particular his extensive travels with his uncle and father on the so-called Silk Road and according to the book title, to the Animals Marco Polo Saw , to many of the different species of fauna the Polos encountered and observed), author Sandra Markle has done truly an amazing job both simply and nevertheless more than adequately, informatively presenting Marco Polo as a historical figure to older children above the ages of seven or so (for while Animals Marco Polo Saw is indeed a picture book, there is in my opinion a just bit too much detailed text, there are too many printed words to consider this for the very young, even if one were to read Animals Marco Polo Saw aloud to them). And while personally and academically, I actually would have appreciated and even wanted and required a bit more detail and historical, biological featured facts and information, I do in fact very much realise and understand that for the intended audience, Animals Marco Polo Saw is exactly, is totally right, and thus presents an absolutely and entirely appropriate amount of detail without becoming potentially distracting or overwhelming (with the fact that Sandra Markle's featured narrative is also not just dryly informational but reads both flowingly and personably, even somewhat chattily, being the textual icing on an already delicious cake).

Furthermore Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini's accompanying illustrations, they are also and indeed quite delightfully marvelous, detailed, descriptive and simultaneously both realistic and mood inducing, complimenting and at times even supplementing the author's narrative, Sandra Markle's textual information and facts on Marco Polo, his family, his life, his travels and the diverse animals he, his uncle and father encountered and made note of on their travels to Cathay (and as such the illustrations often do in fact provide visuals that are not always included or sometimes just hinted at within the text proper, within the author's main narrative storylines). And truly, and in my humble opinion, Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini's illustrations are actually and in fact much much more than simply illustrations; they are and should be approached and considered as exquisite painterly like entities in and of themselves that move the narrative of Animals Marco Polo Saw from good to great, from interesting and readable to truly and utterly visually and aesthetically outstanding.

Now finally, while I do indeed much appreciate and laud Sandra Markle for having included supplemental research and study information that greatly increase the teaching and learning potential and value of Animals Marco Polo Saw (a glossary, books and websites, even a video on Marco Polo) I also really do wish that she had not limited herself to providing just two book and two website suggestions (for while too many examples, while too many suggestions would or at least could prove distracting and even potentially confusing, for me, just having two recommendations for further reading and for further internet exploration on Marco Polo is also more than a bit frustrating, almost as though one has been given a carrot to pursue and then having it snatched away at the last minute). But even with this minor little quibble (and potential caveat), Sandra Markle's Animals Marco Polo Saw is to be highly recommended, with a strong four star ranking.
" said.

January 2019 New Book:

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