Title: MagellanMagellan
Author: Ronald Syme
Illustrator: William Stobbs
Pages: 71
Recommended Ages: 7-10
Star Rating: ★★★★★

Having just recently included a synopsis of Magellan’s life in my review of Who Was Ferdinand Magellan?, I will not repeat his story here. Instead I will contrast the two books.

Magellan is slightly shorter and simpler than Who Was Ferdinand Magellan? Whereas WWFM read more like a biography, Magellan read like a biographical novel. Also, WWFM included more details concerning the historical setting in which Magellan found himself.

That said, I think I preferred Magellan out of the two. The illustrations brought real life to the book, and the almost story-like tone made the information more interesting. Also, although WWFM accused Magellan of attacking a native group who refused to convert to Christianity, Magellan tells a more plausible tale – the native group was threatening to attack another tribe that had been converted to Christianity. When Magellan heard of this, he sided with the tribe who had formerly befriended him and died defending them rather than behaving dogmatically. Now, I don’t know what really happened on that day in 1521, but Magellan’s story sounds more believable.

Conclusion. A great biography for early readers.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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