Monday, February 20, 2012

Maps and Schematics: Into the Unknown

Into The Unknown

Cybils2011-Web-ButtonBGThe next Nonfiction Cybils finalist enchanted me.  Stewart Ross and Stephen Biesty (a famous schematic illustrator) deliver a beautiful combination of text and graphics with Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way By Land, Sea, and Air.  Their list of explorers include names I'd never heard of, including Pythias the Greek and the Piccard family, but also gives me sound summaries of voyages by people I thought I knew about -- Columbus, Eriksson, Hillary and Armstrong.

The fold-out maps add another joy to the already interesting text illustrations.  Each page folds out to give succeeding maps or illustrations, either tracing the routes or explaining how the vehicles worked (or occasionally, didn't) to propel the explorers along their journeys.  I admit that I prefer the maps, but my sons definitely drooled over the schematics.  I'm going to loan my library copy to my son's fifth grade class because I think they'd love it.  And our librarian has put it on her To-Buy list -- she appreciated how the folding pages were set inside the covers, which makes them more likely to survive multiple customers.

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