The Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon

illus. by Greg Pizzoli. 48p. bibliog. glossary. photos. websites. Viking. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780670016532.
Gr 2–5—Percy Fawcett dreamed of being an explorer from the time he was a young child in the 1860s; the accounts of his explorer father and brother fueled his enthusiasm. Even his stint in the British Army in Sri Lanka afforded him the opportunity to investigate local jungles. On Fawcett's return home, he began training through the Royal Geographical Society, learning, for instance, which plants were poisonous and which were not. The Society hired him to map areas of Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru, including some of the most dangerous regions of the Amazon rain forest. Fawcett kept coming home safe and finding a new trip to lead. Throughout, he heard rumors of a fantastic ancient city reportedly deep in the Amazon area, a ruin he wanted to locate. So off he went in April 1925, with his 21-year-old son and another young man. Fawcett sold his story to a newspaper and promised regular reports so the papers could bring "live" news to their readers. This offering is for daring readers who prefer nonfiction: there's an unknown explorer to pique their interest, great back matter to demonstrate how to deepen their research, and Pizzoli's clever, humorous illustrations. However, this is very much a tale of British colonialism and will likely need to be supplemented with further discussions.
VERDICT A swashbuckling adventure for large elementary school and nonfiction collections.

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