Jules Verne (1828-1905) was born in Nantes, France. His father wanted him to study Law, but Jules preferred theatre and writing. Known as the pioneer of science fiction, his best-known novels include Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).
The sounds of a chugging steam engine and the orchestral movie-score strains that open this program set the stage for Dale's top-drawer performance of this much-loved adventure story. As one could set a clock by eccentric Phileas Fogg's daily routine, Fogg shocks everyone when he bets his personal fortune that he can complete the trip proposed in the book's title and then sets off on the wild trip. Listeners can almost envision a twinkle in Dale's eye as he delivers the lines of Fogg's traveling companion and man-servant Passepartout in an entertaining, though not over-the-top, French accent. Dale's vibrant, never-hurried reading is pleasantly punctuated by background music of the era at chapter breaks. A bonus afterword notes that this new edition pays homage to Listening Library's very first recording in 1955, of this same book. The added material also mentions the historical and social context of Verne's writings about other cultures, the tone of which would be considered insensitive or offensive by many people today. Ages 8-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Gr 6 Up‘To most modern kids, classics may be great, worthy, even exciting stories, but they were written in and for their own times and the context can sometimes be obscure. Using the visually irresistible printing techniques popularized by the "Eyewitness" series, these two books, when prominently displayed, will probably attract more impulse readers than some of the dustier editions. But do they accomplish their stated aim? Direct textual illustration is plentiful, lively, and useful. The reproductions of prints, photographs, and maps that pepper each page and are intended to enhance readers' grasp of the times, however, are a mixed success. There is a sameness to them and an arbitrary feel to their use. Pirate buffs will find Treasure Island's variety of ship drawings, details of sailing minutiae, and photographs of pieces of eight or guns and swords quite satisfying. Verne's work is less enhanced by its graphics. This episodic travelogue would be best served by lots of clear maps with the route well marked. But the few maps shown are so small that the legends are unreadable and country and city names are blurred. Limitations aside, the initial appeal of this fresh approach may serve to attract some new readers to these enduring stories that have managed without any help for this long.‘Sally Margolis, formerly at Deerfield Public Library, IL
The reason Verne is still read by millions today is simply that he
was one of the best storytellers who ever lived. Arthur C.
"The reason Verne is still read by millions today is simply that he was one of the best storytellers who ever lived."--Arthur C. Clarke