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Around the World in a Hundred Years Hardcover – March 23, 1994


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; First Edition edition (March 23, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399225277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399225277
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,333,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Noted biographer and historian Fritz ( Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt ) offers a wickedly funny look at 10 explorers who, between 1421 and 1522, ventured into what contemporaneous mapmakers called the Unknown. While presenting the salient facts, Fritz approaches them with playful irreverence; accordingly, the frequently traveled material can seem refreshingly new. Discussing Amerigo Vespucci, she writes, "Some give him credit for recognizing a continent when he saw one. Others call him an out-and-out faker." This tone proves especially effective when Fritz addresses such problematic issues as the treatment of native people and the often accidental nature of many of the discoveries. Reflecting the humor of Fritz's text, Venti's lighthearted black-and-white drawings use subtle strokes, as in a picture of Balboa, heavily in debt, stowed away on a ship and peering out from the barrel he'd hidden inside. Readable, attractive maps begin each chapter, providing useful visual references for each voyager's route. Ages 7-11.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-A look at "the first great wave of European exploration" (1421-1522) through brief portraits of various participants. Fritz does many things well here. She writes with ease and humor, including details that add color and humanity to historical figures, and skillfully incorporates research into her narrative. She presents the heroic aspects of the voyages, as well as evidence of the arrogance, cruelty, and greed many of these men displayed. Despite all the good attributes, the book suffers because of the complexity of the subject matter. By including so many different individuals, the issue becomes complicated; after a while, the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese names start to run together. Some of the men's lifetimes and discoveries overlap, which makes it even more difficult to sort out who did what... and when. The illustrations are beautiful, entertaining, Renaissance-inspired pencil drawings. They include many amusing touches, such as the island of Porto Santo being overtaken by rabbits, but because they are in black and white and almost too finely drawn, they do not have a great deal of child appeal. A map at the beginning of each chapter shows the explorer's route. An outline of the continents appears on the end papers, but there aren't enough world maps throughout the book to enable readers to get a more complete picture of how the "discovered" countries fit into the world as a whole. The text is not straightforward enough for reports, but interested readers may enjoy perusing these tales of adventure and scientific discovery.
Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

"The question I am most often asked," Jean Fritz says, "is how do I find my ideas? The answer is: I don't. Ideas find me. A character in history will suddenly step right out of the past and demand a book. Generally people don't bother to speak to me unless there's a good chance that I'll take them on." Throughout almost four decades of writing about history, Jean Fritz has taken on plenty of people, starting with George Washington in The Cabin Faced West (1958). Since then, her refreshingly informal historical biographies for children have been widely acclaimed as "unconventional," "good-humored," "witty," "irrepressible," and "extraordinary."In her role as biographer, Jean Fritz attempts to uncover the adventures and personalities behind each character she researches. "Once my character and I have reached an understanding," she explains, "then I begin the detective work--reading old books, old letters, old newspapers, and visiting the places where my subject lived. Often I turn up surprises and of course I pass these on." It is her penchant for making distant historical figures seem real that brings the characters to life and makes the biographies entertaining, informative, and filled with natural child appeal.An original and lively thinker, as well as an inspiration to children and adults, Jean Fritz is undeniably a master of her craft. She was awarded the Regina Medal by the Catholic Library Association, presented with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award by the American Library Association for her "substantial and lasting contribution to children's literature," and honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature, which was presented by the New York State Library Association for her body of work.

Customer Reviews

A must have for home schoolers!
farmhousemom
The constant bashing of Christians isn't just offensive, it's factually incorrect in so many ways.
Sunnyvale Reader
I do not want to read a book to my children and constantly wonder if it is even accurate.
D. Turner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By D. Turner on September 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am trying to make a decision as to whether to use this book or not, for homeschool. The first time around, I was "taken" by the fun and interesting way things were presented, and appreciated the uncomfortable truths that I was not taught in school. When it spoke of "Christians" this, that, and the other - I was not so much bothered because Christians have not been perfect over the centuries. Far from it. As I read my bible, we see that some of the greatest bible heros had huge blights on their lives. But we learn from that. For example, David's affair. But we see that he was held accountable, and we see His turning back to God. We see that men fail, but God is redemptive, and Sovereign. So I am not afraid to look at the failings of Christianity, however, this book goes beyond that. In it I see overstatement, bias,and inaccuracies as a result of that bias.

I took it out of our library to re-read to my children. They were really too young last time, and are at just the right age now. I got on here and began reading some of the reviews, and looking up some of the excerpts in the book. As I began to review these excerpts, I saw them in a different light. Discomfort I can handle when it deals in truth, but this was more. I began to see gross overstatements. When I researched "Christians burning the library at Alexandria," and found that to be totally inaccurate, it cause me to question how well researched this book was. I do not want to read a book to my children and constantly wonder if it is even accurate. It seems to me that the irresponsibility comes in with the author's own bias.

The book needs to be rewritten, facts rechecked beforehand. Jean Fritz is a great writer, which is why I gave it two stars, but I don't trust her research now.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Laura L. Lund on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a Christian myself, I'm rather surprised by the reviews claiming this book is full of Christian-bashing. The Christian church at this point in history *did* censor new scientific findings (ie. the earth *does* go around the sun and not the other way around, as the Church used to preach). It's important to realize that Christians haven't always been on the right side of history, since Christians are human and therefore prone to making mistakes.

Overall, I found this book to be an easy-to-read, well-done overview of major European explorers. I liked that each explorer got his own chapter, which makes it easy to use as a reference book for studying this time period as a whole. The text is engaging and the illustrations are appealing, which are wonderful assets for a children's history book.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the first popular book I have seen on the Age of Exploration that lets the reader in on important details that have been evaluated honestly in scholarly works for decades, but which our more traditional popularizers have tended to gloss over in favor of the notion that the Europeans who led the continent's conquest of the world were all both unstoppable and righteous.
(See John H. Perry's "Establishment of the European Hegemony, 1415-1715" (HarperCollins, 1961) for a good example of a more scholarly work that also includes all the warts in its accounts of the famous Age.)
It's a lively, easy-to-read book, and it does a good job of telling both the heroic and the not-so-heroic aspects of the story.
Well done.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is humorous and includes, in my opinion, appropriate treatment of some negative aspects of the explorers (such as the slave trade). However, I have found subtle bias which may offend some Christians. The burning of the library at Alexandria is blamed on Christians, although this is not conclusively proven. Fritz writes "Christians did not believe in scholarship. They thought it was sacrilegious to be curious." This is a gross overstatement at best. In listing people and things sent with Columbus to the New World on a second trip, Fritz groups "six priests... in addition to fifty horses and a pack of dogs trained to attack hostile natives if necessary." Interesting that priests are listed with horses and attack dogs. Aside from these kinds of things, the book is interesting. I intend to "edit" when and if I read this to my children.
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41 of 54 people found the following review helpful By momteacherof3 on March 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ms. Fritz, your bias is showing! I had to edit and editorialize as I read this to my children to correct numerous misstatements and oversimplifications regarding Christianity. For example, Christians were not opposed to scholarship ~ it's largely because of Catholic and Byzantine monks that Greek and Roman literature was preserved.

Furthermore, I've come to think of Jean Fritz as the queen of the sentence fragment. I personally find bad grammar distracting when I'm reading.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on March 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
I rely on Jean Fritz -- I like her style from little-kid biographies (And then what happened, Paul Revere?) to big-kid biographies (Why Not, Lafayeete? or Where Do You Think You're Going, Christopher Columbus?)

I was tremendously excited to read this book, but what a disappointment. Jean Fritz often has an undertone of irony in her books (which we applaud *and* enjoy), but this book is sarcasm-unleashed.

The tone of the book is unpleasantly snarky. It is inappropriate for my kids... I wanted an instructive and entertaining book, not a soliloquy founded on Jean Fritz's simmering hostility to Western civilization. Only the excellent illustrations save it from a one-star rating.

Instead of this book, try Marc Aronson's book "The World Made New." The World Made New: Why the Age of Exploration Happened and How It Changed the World (Timelines of American History)
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