From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Colorful and compact, these volumes offer solid entry-level reading that is nearly on a par with good adventure fiction. The texts are lively and accessible, and the illustrations are well chosen and diverse: maps, portraits, facsimile letters and documents, historical drawings and paintings, and even photographs of the present-day places that these explorers once roamed. Plentiful sidebars extract main ideas from each chapter or offer interesting trivia about the men and their times. The authors provide a detailed background of the political, social, and sometimes religious forces that inspired the explorers to venture into the unknown. Occasionally, there is subtle fictionalizing in an attempt to explain what these heroes must have been thinking in times of triumph or duress, but it is not awkward or distracting. The glossaries seem incomplete and a bit arbitrary. While these books contain the same basic information found in comparable biographies, their concise, attractive format and crisp writing give them a substantial edge. This is engaging nonfiction that students might first pick up to write a report and then end up reading cover to cover.-William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH
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