Levison Wood, illus. Sam Brewster. London: Wren & Rook, hb, 978 1 5263 6043 4, 2019, £14.99, 64pp.
Non-fiction, picture book, 9+ years
Levison Wood has gripped the nation with his various TV series about his arduous walks and journeys in different parts of the world, so it is a delight that he has brought this enthusiasm to a book for children.
He writes a very personal introduction about his own journey to becoming an explorer, emphasising the importance of dreaming and reading.
Each section is framed by an introduction from Wood about a personal connection he has with the topic, usually an experience he had when journeying in the particular region. The coverage is wide-ranging throughout both history and the world. An exciting number of unknown or less well-known adventurers are introduced including a very substantial range of women. Established discourse is always challenged in the light of modern sensibilities about the concept of exploration and clear explanations are given about why older ways of thinking are no longer acceptable.
Numbered boxes are superimposed on Brewster’s interesting illustrations to show routes and the sequence of events in each journey and are used to convey more details and specifics. The voyages of the Vikings and the Ancient Egyptians, Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta and Zheng He sit alongside Amelia Earheart, Nellie Bly and the extraordinary Victorian women travellers in the Middle East.
This is a book to dip into for inspiration, or for the enthusiast, it is a book that will be devoured.
Review by Pam Dix