All of us, big and small, want to experience adventures. We often get swept along by oral or written narratives that transport us to past ages and future worlds... or which take place in the here and now but are packed full of action.
Throughout the history of literature there have been many authors who have narrated adventure stories, but Jules Verne’s work Around the World in 80 Days is in a league of its own.
The prolific and visionary French author has captivated countless readers over the years with the story of the adventures of the British Phileas Fogg and his assistant Jean Passepartout, making them one of the biggest gems of literature throughout the ages.
As everyone knows, Around the World in 80 Days is about Phileas Fogg’s journey to win a bet with his fellow members of the Reform Club. He wagers half of his fortune and undertakes to travel around the world in only eighty days using the resources available in the second half of the 19th century and following the route published in the Morning Chronicle, his daily newspaper of choice.
During his adventure, this perfectionist, a cunning and methodical character will not only have to contend with the problems caused by the different forms of transport, but also with being pursued by Detective Fix, who thinks that he was behind a robbery at the Bank of England.
Today we are revisiting the beautifully-crafted edition of this work by the publisher Blume, a product that they have got right in many ways, detailed below:
Firstly, because it reproduces the full text; without the simplifications that often come with these types of editions for children and young adults, in an attempt, failed in my opinion, to make them easier to read. There’s a right time for each book. If a child or young reader is not ready for a story because it is too complex, I would recommend giving them something to read that is in line with their reading ability, instead of watering down an original work.
However, one thing I do think is right is to accompany a text of this kind with pictures, especially if they complement it skillfully, without going over the top, as is the case here. Children and young readers are very receptive to reading with pictures. In this case, the illustrations are by the award-winning Robert Ingpen and they are very much in keeping with the period in which the action takes place, including elements that highlight the influence of the film adaptation by Michael Todd and enhance the visual end product. They are all very understated, which I also think is right when they are accompanying a work with such a wealth of descriptions and details.
The text and image are also brought together in a beautifully-produced edition with a cover that looks very much in tune with them both. The book is in line with other titles published by this publisher, which include other adventure stories such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Treasure Island, The Jungle book, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Peter and Wendy, among other titles.
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