Saturday, July 21, 2012

100 Days that Changed the World... Kind of

What do you think about sequels to classic books, especially when they are not written by the original authors? "Peter Pan in Scarlet," the official sequel to J. M. Barrie's "Peter and Wendy," comes to mind. It was good, but not quite on the level of Barrie. I get too intrigued when I see a new sequel to a classic novel and can't keep myself from reading it. I recently finished the sequel to Jules Verne's, "Around the World in 80 Days." The review is below. I also picked up the sequel to Ian Fleming's, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." I plan to read that with my kids then review it here.

"Around the World in 100 Days"

By Gary Blackwood

For Ages 10 - 13
If you like Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days" you'll be happy to read Blackwood's sequel, "Around the World in 100 Days." Rated 4.5 (adventure, mild peril, historical fiction)

If Phileas Fogg was able to circle the globe in 80 days, why doe sit take his son harry 100 days? That is the question I was asking when I picked this book up. It is all quickly explained when Harry, like his father, gets himself into a bet involving a steam-powered automobile he and his best friend built. Now he has to try and travel the globe using nothing but his car. Of course he can use boats over the oceans so don't over think it. 

Harry and his crew face wildfires, sabotage, trains and kidnapping, but they keep steaming along. Both my 7-and 11-year-old sons couldn't put this adventure down once they started reading it. The adventure is fast and fun. The characters are well-developed and keep to Verne's styling, which is a nice touch. History is incorporated well and the plot keeps you guessing without teaching too much or getting bogged down in mysteries. I only wish Blackwood would have developed some of the adventures a little more. 

Blackwood is probably best know for his "The Shakespeare Stealer" series. But his fans and those of "Around the World in 80 Days" will thoroughly enjoy this sequel. I wonder if he'll write another sequel? Maybe around the world in 120 days.

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