Title: The Story of Marco Polo
Author: Olive Price
Series: Signature Books
Major Themes: China, Exploration, Marco Polo, Venice
Synopsis: Marco Polo’s journey to China and back is retold in a very interesting way.
Children’s biographies written in the 1950s were very high quality. My family was blessed to be able to buy a lot of them in the late 1980s when our local library discarded them. I recently read The Story of Marco Polo to my children and they loved it, much to my surprise! I had forgotten how exciting a story it is.
Olive Price has taken the bare bones we know about Marco Polo, from his book, and fleshed them out. When the story opens, Marco is living in Venice with his mother; he had never met his father. Several years later, after Marco’s mother’s death, his father returns from his trading trip to China. After several more years, they return to China, meeting with many adventures, probable and improbable, along the way. Marco, his father, and his uncle become indispensable to the Great Khan of China, and spend somewhere around 20 years working for him before he allows them to return to Europe.
I don’t know how accurate this book is, compared to The Travels of Marco Polo. It is an unforgettable introduction to the famous explorer who inspired Columbus’s travels, though! If you can find a copy of this old book, it is well worth reading.
WARNING: Chapters 4, 9, and 10 describe murders. Chapter 5 talks about evil spirits, and chapter 10 mentions magic.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12