This is a solid, well researched, differentiated information book. The explorers (24 in all, 3 female) are grouped according to their spheres of exploration: polar, ocean, land, desert, sky and new frontiers (outer space and underwater).They range chronologically from Marco Polo to Ranulph Fiennes.
Each explorer is carefully introduced with a snappy summary of their background and achievements and the reader is drawn in with a high quality full page size illustration: paintings, sketches, maps, portraits or for the more recent explorers, photographs. For some readers this will be enough.
There follows, in short paragraphs and using a successful non-fiction narrative style, an exploration of their journeys enlivened with many and varied annotated illustrations which serve to add breadth and depth to the basic stories.
The author, a prolific writer of children’s books, neither patronises with numbed down material nor swamps with indigestible chunks of text. She engages directly with the readers and attempts to help them make an emotional connection with these remarkably courageous individuals.
This book would be a useful addition to any school library and would be a great resource for the History curriculum in Irish Primary schools or for individual or group project work. It was a pity that Tom Crean was not included, though Dervla Murphy did get a small mention.