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Around the World in Eighty Days (Sterling Unabridged Classics)
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Gr 3-5-All three adaptations of these classic novels fall prey to the usual pitfalls involved in such a process. The bare outlines of the plots are provided, but character development, a true sense of place and time with regard to setting, and masterful description of the action all go by the wayside. Jungle Book is mistitled as it references only the Mowgli stories and moves from incident to incident so quickly that the "law of the jungle" morals in Kipling's anthropomorphic fables are lost. Treasure Island is written in a similar breakneck, choppy style, and Long John Silver, one of the most memorable characters ever created, is eminently forgettable in this telling. In 80 Days, the historic events that made such a journey even thinkable, like the opening of the Suez Canal and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, are never mentioned, nor is the International Date Line, which enabled Fogg to win his wager, mentioned, let alone explained. The cartoon illustrations in all three volumes border on offensive as no matter which country or culture is depicted, the dot-eyed faces are virtually identical except for minor variations in skin tone. Some illustrations make no sense, as when the action in 80 Days describes the servant Passepartout at the bottom of a circus pyramid, but the picture is of a Japanese tearoom.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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.

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