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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) Paperback – March 12, 1983

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Bring classic children's tales to young readers with the Calico Illustrated Classics series. World-class illustrations make rafting the river and braving the revolution exciting journeys through literature. Large type and leveled language make the classics accessible to readers of all ages. Calico Chapter Books is an imprint of Magic Wagon, a division of ABDO Group. Grades 3-8. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

From the Inside Flap

In this 1870 science-fiction classic, obsessed Captain Nemo and his prisoners descend beneath the sea in his secret submarine, the Nautilus, for nonstop adventure and suspense.  

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 440L (What's this?)
  • Series: A Stepping Stone Book(TM)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 12, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394853334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394853338
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By F. P. Walter on April 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A sorry example of the laziness and irresponsibility of many trade editors today -- and it's especially shameful in a publication targeted to students and youngsters.

First, the basic text is dreadful: though unidentified, it's the long-discredited translation signed by "Mercier Lewis" and rushed into print in 1872 by the London firm of Sampson, Low. As modern scholars have documented on numerous occasions, Verne's original French was politically censored, drastically abridged, couched in stilted Victorian prose, and riddled with hundreds of inane translating errors. Its clunky, antiquated English is something no American student could possibly enjoy ("I own my heart beat," says the narrator, who actually means, "I admit my heart was pounding"). As for the translating blunders, some are asinine beyond belief -- Verne's characters start a fire with a lentil (Verne: lens) . . . loosen bolts with a key (Verne: wrench) . . . and claim iron is lighter than water (Verne: the opposite, of course).

Are these obscure facts? Anything but. Over the past four decades, this translation's inadequacy has been bemoaned repeatedly in basic reference works (Taves & Michaluk's JULES VERNE ENCYCLOPEDIA), online (the Jules Verne Forum at jv.gilead.org.il), and in readily available MODERN translations of this novel (e.g., the paperback editions from Signet, Oxford, and the U.S. Naval Institute).
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By D. Merchant on March 24, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Shameful. To use a widely discredited translation when better, more accurate translations exist, and to have such horrendous errors in the notes is just shameful. There is absolutely no reason to reprint a discredited translation that is full of outrageous errors and huge omissions, and which "enriches" the text with completely erroneous notes. Abysmal. This butchered version of a great story deserves a negative five star rating. No school should purchase this edition. No library should have it on its shelves. And no individual should waste their hard earned money on this when better editions already exist, and when better editions can be easily and readily reprinted by the publisher, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. _Much_ better editions exist. Read the excellent reviews below by J. M. Margot and F. P. Walter to discover what editions you should be looking for.

And if you are a fan of Verne, or just a fan of quality publishing, please write Simon & Schuster, Inc., and tell them to replace this absolutely abysmal edition(especially since they have access to better translations):

Jack Romanos President and CEO
Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-698-7000
Fax: 212-698-7099
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Margot on March 23, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you're going to read one of the great classics of literature-and you should-don't pick up this edition. It is a reprint of a version that dates back to the 1870s and was exposed more than 40 years ago for cutting nearly one-quarter of Verne's story and mistranslating much of the remainder. Its reappearance in this edition is all the more amazing considering Tor's status as a leading science fiction publisher, and the company's willingness to perpetrate this fraud on is many readers is truly stunning. If you want to truly get to know Verne's novel, pick up the elegant Naval Institute Press edition, in a modern, complete, updated translation, with commentary by the leading American Verne expert today, Walter James Miller. That book also comes with many of the artistic engravings that illustrated the original French first edition (no illustrations are to be found in the B&N Mercier reprint). Less attractive but more academic is the Oxford Classics version of Twenty Thousand Leagues. This review is posted on behalf of the North American Jules Verne Society by Jean-Michel Margot, president NAJVS.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lydia on November 23, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
As an adventure story, there are few that can touch this classic. I remember reading through this book around 10 years old and how much I loved reading about all of the various life forms beneath the sea. I also credit this book for my fascination with all things aquatic.

There's a lot of criticism on all of the technical jargon included in this book and I don't really understand that. If this doesn't interest the reader it's simple to just skim over the information and or skip it altogether. It's not vital to the story, it just enriches it. But enrichment aside, the story does well standing on its own.

Jules Verne's interest in science is so incredibly apparent. He really was a man before his time. Everything had a plausible explanation (although I admit to not having much knowledge in the areas he was writing on).

His characters were rich and full of life. Nemo was deliciously mysterious throughout the entire length of the book. The Dr., his man servant and Ned all had their own distinct personalities.

My father recommended I read this book again (he actually wanted me to read the third in the trilogy - In Search of the Castaways being the second, and The Mysterious Island being the third) and I'm glad I did. So often people talk about the classics and if you haven't read one in a while it seems like the stories are remembered as dull and hard to read, but once again, as I dove back into this classic book, I was reminded of why I read so many of them as a young teenager.
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