Thursday, January 8, 2015

Usborne's Illustrated Adventure Stories

Happy New Year Readers!

Now officially back to reality, an adventure book might be a good pick-me-up. How about one with FIVE classics, plenty of adventure, short chapters for the early readers, and great illustrations on every page? Usborne, as usual, has it covered. One of their newest Illustrated anthologies is the we gave to our son this year for Christmas--Usborne's Illustrated Adventure Stories. 

I do a scan of Usborne's newest titles twice a year when their new product comes out, and I almost always have about 10 I'd like to buy and give as gifts, or just own for our homeschooling library. Usborne's illustrated anthologies usually include 20 short stories, or if they're classics--like this new book--there are between 5 & 6 that range from 60-90 pages each in length.

This book has children's abridged versions of the following classics: The Count of Monte Cristo, The Prisoner of Zenda, Don Quixote, The Three Musketeers, and The 39 Steps, including one-page biographies and illustrated pictures of each author at the back of the book.  My kids love these anthologies. The proof is in the pudding, they say, and my kids have certainly eaten all these up. The oldest Illustrated books we have are the Illustrated Stories for Boys and Illustrated Stories for Girls, and they are literally falling apart from use**. 

This book is probably aimed more at boys, because there are very few female characters in the stories, and plenty of action, but both my children are enjoying the stories immensely. We've completed three of the five, and although Don Quixote confused them in places (it's a comedy, but one first has to understand sarcasm), they enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo and The Prisoner of Zenda. These stories have a lot of action and adventure, and also quite a bit of deception, revenge, and death. 

I feel exposing my children to these stories early in life have a few benefits. For one, they are hearing the frame of the stories as young people, they will remember the general gist when they/if they have to read them in the future for school and secondly, listening to a story and seeing illustrations don't compare with the graphic nature of television shows and movies. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I find themes and underlying moral premises easier to interpret in a picture book rather than just hearing the news in the background or watching a movie. 

My kids are enjoying this book, and I'm glad we've added it to our collection of excellent illustrated anthologies.
**I've re-taped the Girls one at least twice. If I wanted to pay the $10 (half the price of it as new, per Usborne's policy), I could get a brand new book, no questions asked, but at this point, I'm okay with it being so love.d 

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