cover image The Remarkable Voyages of Captain Cook

The Remarkable Voyages of Captain Cook

Rhoda Blumberg. Bradbury Press, $18.95 (137pp) ISBN 978-0-02-711682-3

Blumberg ( The Incredible Journey of Lewis and Clark ) might well have written for TV's old See It Now or You Are There . The triumphs and tribulations of several lengthy journeys are rendered in such vivid prose that readers will almost be able to hear and smell the ships' animals. While James Cook found neither the ``Southern Continent'' nor the Northwest Passage, his navigational achievements (charting parts of New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, the western U.S. coast, Alaska, etc.) are monumental. Equally important were his shipboard medical advancements and his innovation of bringing scientists, artists et al. on expeditions. Cook the person is explored as well--first as a strict but kind, curious adventurer, later as more brutal. This book is especially valuable for cross-cultural understanding, as numerous incidents reveal how the English and those they encountered imposed their own beliefs upon other peoples. (Cook couldn't believe that Tahitians smothered some of their newborns; Tahitians were appalled that an eight-year-old in Britain could be hanged for stealing something inconsequential.) Highly recommended. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)