Reviews for Marco Polo
Booklist Reviews 2008 October #1
For a younger audience than Russell Freedman's The Adventures of Marco Polo (2006), this biography of the great explorer includes a much shorter text, though there is still quite a lot of detail about his incredible 24-year world journey over 33,000 miles by land and sea, from Venice to the kingdom of Kublai Khan and China in the thirteenth century. And like Freedman, Demi raises ongoing questions about whether the story that Marco Polo told is all true. The focus here, though, is on Demi's exquisitely detailed, elaborate art, and in her author's note, she discusses how she encorporated design elements from the many cultures Marco Polo encountered on his journey: she painted with Chinese ink and created borders and frames with a mixture of Chinese and Indian embroidery, as well as Italian, Arabian, and Persian designs in gold and ink. A clear, double-page map showing Marco Polo's amazing route is a beautiful climax. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Demi first sets the scene of thirteenth-century Italy, then chronicles Marco Polo's journey to China and back. The explorer's own perspectives on everything from asbestos to rhinoceroses are woven into the narrative. Demi's trademark illustrations in Chinese inks and gold overlays are contained within rich silk fabric borders. A map showing Polo's route is appended. Bib. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 August #2
Marco Polo was just 17 when he left his home in Italy to travel to China with his merchant father--a man who had traveled so long and far that Marco had met him only two years before. It was another 24 years before Marco would return to Italy with a treasure of precious jewels sewn into his clothing and a lifetime's worth of discoveries and adventures. Marco Polo and his merchant family bridged Europe and Asia long before Christopher Columbus set sail for the West. The anecdotal narrative is just right for an introduction to this remarkable voyager. Small paintings in Chinese inks brightened with gold overlays make each page a treasure--delicately, meticulously assembled, each scene identifies Marco with a red feather, and each miniature emerges from a richly detailed border. It's disappointing that a sense of the strangeness of the world to Marco's European eyes never quite emerges; the text and the illustrations remain somewhat detached from each other as a result. Still, there's plenty of charm for the eyes and imagination. (author's note, map) (Picture book/biography. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2008 September
Gr 3-7-- This elegant, scholarly picture-book biography brings the explorer's fantastic journey to life. Born into a wealthy Venetian merchant family in 1254, Polo embarked on his famous trip to China at age 17 with his father and uncle, both accomplished explorers. A gifted storyteller, Demi weaves her subject's own accounts into a seamless tale of wonder. Traveling by boat, horse, pack mule, and camel, the group faced constant peril--bandits, pirates, vast deserts where "…eerie spirit voices…tried to lead them astray," mountains "so high and so cold that no birds flew," monsoons, dust storms, cannibals, illness, and murderous warriors. On their journey home after almost a quarter of a century, only 8 of a party of 600 survived. When they finally returned home, their amazing tales were often met with disbelief, even mockery. While defending his city during a war with Genoa in 1298, Marco was captured and imprisoned. He told his stories to a fellow prisoner--a writer, who recorded them in "the greatest travel book ever written," now known as The Travels of Marco Polo . The delicately rendered illustrations, painted with Chinese inks and gold overlays, often extend beyond their intricate frames of "Chinese and Indian embroidery and Italian, Arabian, and Persian designs…on silk." Dominated by red and gold, these miniatures capture the exotic beauty of 13th-century China.--Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools [Page 201]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.