Book Review: Marco Polo, the Boy Who Traveled the Medieval World

Reading Level

Ages 4-8

Also in This Series

Eleanor of Aquitaine
Marie Curie

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Marco Polo is one of the most famous names in all of history. A Venetian boy who had no parents became a world-famous traveler and a favorite of the most powerful man in the world.

This book, by Nick McCarty, traces the life and adventures of Marco Polo in entertaining and educational fashion. The prose flows well and encourages the reader to keep reading.

The highlights of the book, though, are the images. This is a National Geographic book, and that means that the editors have a huge library of famous and wonderful illustrations to draw from. Old-time maps, engravings, famous paintings, and other lush images dot the pages, illustrating the story in a compelling way.

Fitting sidebars accompany the general narrative, including a detailed examination of Kublai Khan and the Mongol Empire. It is this Kublai Khan that Marco Polo meets and ends up serving, for a total of 17 years. The book has a few interesting tidbits as well, including that the great Kublai had his own Pony Express a full 600 hundred years before the U.S. did.

One of the main points in any Marco Polo discussion is the debate over whether he really saw all of what he wrote about. The author tackles that issue head-on, presenting both sides and letting the reader make up his or her own mind.

Many students know a few things about Marco Polo. After reading this book, they will know a whole lot more.

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