FICTION

The Million Stories of Marco Polo

illus. by Maria Cristina Pritelli. 32p. maps. notes. Creative Editions. Aug. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781568462905.
COPY ISBN
Gr 3–5—More antihistoriography than travelogue, this work is a dialogue (in contrasting typefaces) between a fictitious scribe, an amalgamation of the many real writers who helped spread the legacy of Marco Polo, and a young listener. The child wants to hear about elephants, and so the scribe begins a tangent that encompasses brief retellings of Polo's tales as well as an exploration—and a bit of debunking—of the mythos surrounding him and his travels. (In regard to a story of a bridge vanishing right before Polo's eyes, the child responds, "Maybe bridges vanished because his eyes were so tired from travel?"). There are a few endnotes and a map but no sources or further reading. At one point, the young interlocutor questions the stories' truth and the adult asserts that "believing makes things true," certainly a controversial claim. For information on Polo's actual journeys, however embellished, revisit Demi's Marco Polo or Russell Freedman's The Adventures of Marco Polo. Or simply enjoy Pritelli's artwork, mistily evoking Venice and other locales (their current names above each spread) in earth, sky, and water tones.
VERDICT An odd but distinctive take on Polo and the role of truth in storytelling. An additional purchase for narrative nonfiction collections.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

TOP STORIES

LIBRARY EDUCATION

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COMMUNITY FORM

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.