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Far Beyond the Garden Gate: Alexandra David-Neel's Journey to Lhasa Hardcover – September 30, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like his Alice Ramsey's Grand Adventure and Ruth Law Thrills a Nation, Don Brown's Far Beyond the Garden Gate: Alexandra David-Neel's Journey to Lhasa charts another innovative woman in a concise picture-book biography. Here, the focus is Parisian-born Alexandra David-Neel's determination to enter the Tibetan capital. A spread of David-Neel crossing a gorge by cable illustrates the lengths to which she goes to become the first Western woman to enter Lhasa, in 1924. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5-David-Neel was one of a small group of intrepid women who defied convention to become bold travelers in remote areas of the world. In fact, even as a child, she looked for adventure beyond the confines of her Victorian household. As an opera singer, she traveled to many far-off places, but she eventually married and settled down in Tunis. Her true adventures began in 1911 when, with her husband's blessings, she set out for Asia and was gone for 14 years. Those journeys are the focus of this picture book, which describes her wanderings and her eventual trek to Lhasa, a city never before visited by a European woman. Though the book starts abruptly, it tells a fascinating tale of a person willing to leave her comfortable world behind to pursue her interest in Buddhism, much of the time accompanied by a young servant whom she eventually adopted. David-Neel's vivid quotes are interspersed throughout the story. Although the author's note does not provide sources for them, the bibliography does list two of her books. The beiges, grays, and whites of Brown's palette capture the feeling of the unfamiliar world into which the woman and her companion ventured, but the rag-doll figures are less appealing. Little has been written about this intriguing woman for this audience, so this book will be a welcome addition to most collections.
Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (September 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618083642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618083640
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.3 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,088,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on February 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
From early childhood, Alexandra David-Neel dreamed of traveling and exploring faraway places. "I craved to go beyond the garden gate, to follow the road that passed it by, and set out for the unknown," she later recalled. "I dreamed of wild hills, immense deserted steppes, and impassable landscapes of glaciers!" As a child, she traveled away from her ordinary life through books and museums, discovering a passion for Buddhism and Asian culture. Her talent as a singer, sent her to India, Greece, and North Africa to perform with opera companies, but that didn't satisfy her wanderlust. Finally in 1911 at the age of forty-three, she left her husband and home in Tunis, North Africa to begin the journey of her dreams. She would travel to the sacred and secretive city of Lhasa, the Forbidden City in Tibet. "Many travelers had been stopped on their way to Lhasa, and had accepted failure. I would not... I would reach Lhasa and show what the will of a woman could achieve!" Using his trademark eloquent prose and artwork, along with some of Alexandra David-Neel's own words, Don Brown weaves a clever and fascinating story in his latest picture book biography, Far Beyond The Garden Gate. Mr Brown's engaging text is filled with imagery, magic, history, mystery, and intriguing facts and details, and complemented by evocative illustrations in soft, dreamy hues. Together word and art transports the reader to Tibet for the arduous adventure of a lifetime. With an Author's Note to augment the story and further enlighten, Far Beyond The Garden Gate is a marvelous introduction to both an amazing woman and little known country that will whet the appetite of kids 8-12, and send them out looking for more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
while giving a slide lecture at the great neck public library on our biography THE SECRET LIVES OF ALEXANDRA DAVID NEEL I was handed you excellent children's book. You distilled just the right information with lovely pictures to show how fabulous her journey was.Our biography deals with her life and includes her journey which was amazing considering the Lhasa was so forbiddena at that time. CONGRATULATIONS1
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on March 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alexandra David-Neel was remarkable. She defied convention, traveled the world, and was the first European woman to reach Lhasa. Getting there would have been an adventure even if she was the thirtieth! She learned Tibetan, disguised her identity, traveled a wilderness, passed over a canyon thousands of feet below on a rope - amazing!

Unfortunately, reading the book, it doesn't sound quite so exciting. It sounds like a greater-than-usual trip to the store. I don't know why this is. The details should be enough to carry the story, those and the quotes scattered throughout, but they're not.

Still, it's an impressive tale.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great adventure story and introduction to Alexandra David-Neel and her heroic quest. The book recreates and brings to life, her life's story, from her childhood to her very difficult and dangerous journey to Lhasa, for grades 3 to 5. There is a bibliography at the end of the book for further study. It is an excellent quality book and would be great for home school. She made her dream come true!
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