Friday, January 18, 2013

Sailing the Unknown: Around the World with Captain Hook

Sailing the Unknown:  Around the World with Captain Cook
by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Maria Cristina Pritelli
Creative Editions, 2012.  Unpaged.  Nonfiction.

     The youngest known sailor on Captain Cook's 1768 was one Nicholas Young, and eleven year old who cared for the ship's nanny goat, Navy, and who was the first to sight the land of New Zealand, and have a headland named for him--Young Nick's Head.  In Sailing the Unknown. . . Michael Rosen invents a diary for Nick with widely spaced entries to give his young readers an overview of Captain Cook's two year and ten month voyage. Maria Pritelli's pictures beautifully illustrate Nick's terse but revealing writings, and the overall effect of the book is to make one want to know more. A couple of quibbles--when the Endeavour reaches the land that will come to be known as New Zealand, Nick's entry records that Maoris threw spears at the landing party. Probably the sailors did not know the name of the native peoples at this point. That aside, this is a fine introduction to the early days of exploration by a young man who looks a little bit like an 18th century Tintin.

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