The travels of Benjamin of Tudela : through three continents in the twelfth century /
Uri Shulevitz.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
description
p. cm.
ISBN
0374377545
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
isbn
0374377545
abstract
A fictionalized account of the travels of Benjamin, a Jewish man from Tudela, Spain, who, in 1159, set out on a fourteen-year-long journey that took him to Italy, Greece, Palestine, Persia, China, Egypt, and Sicily.
catalogue key
5386131
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
National Jewish Book Awards, USA, 2005 : Won
Sydney Taylor Book Award, USA, 2006 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2005-03-28:
Shulevitz (Snow) accomplishes the daunting task of condensing the real-life epic journey of a medieval Jewish traveler who set out from his hometown of Tudela, Spain, in 1159 to see "as many places mentioned in the Bible as possible." Through a first-person narrative addressed to his friends and family upon his return, Benjamin vividly recounts "only... the most amazing places I saw and the most fascinating stories I heard" during his treacherous roughly 14-year trip. The highlights mirror the vast nature of the journey, through parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. Chapter-like segments include brief factual asides about the destinations as well as Jewish history-both ancient (e.g., the discovery of the secret tombs of the Ancient Hebrew Kings in Jerusalem and Babylon's Tower of Babel) and during Benjamin's time (e.g., the treatment of Jews in those countries). Despite its breadth, Shulevitz keeps this lengthy tale's pace brisk, honing in on details sure to capture readers' imaginations, from a description of the smell of sailing ships ("Rat urine had soaked into the boat's wooden boards") to the sounds of medieval Rome to the colorful sight of a procession in Baghdad, led by the Caliph ("the `substitute,' of the prophet Muhammad"). Mixed-media illustrations incorporate various artistic styles and jeweled hues that punctuate expansive ocean and desert panoramas. Shulevitz bases this extraordinary work on Benjamin's own Book of Travels (and many other sources listed in an extensive bibliography). The history is especially fascinating given the current focus on the Middle East. Ages 8-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An eye-filling tour of the medieval Mediterranean." -- The Horn Book "A first-person narrative threaded with vivid comments about smells, hazards, misfortunes, spectacles, and local legends encountered along the way. Affords glimpses of distant, exotic places, but also captures the wonder and the terror of travel at a time when living through even a short trip was considered a miracle." -- Starred, Kirkus Reviews "Outstanding execution. The book is filled with a bazaar's worth of detail. It's no surprise that Shulevitz, a Caldecott winner, provides outstanding illustrations, but he outdoes himself here. Together with the evocative text, they capture the sweep of this mysterious and far away world." -- Starred, Booklist "Shulevitz re-creates this epic journey in a picture book of epic proportions. Meticulously researched...Shulevitz's retelling stands as a testimony to the history, wisdom, and fortitude of those medieval Jews living precariously under Christian or Muslim rule." -- Starred, School Library Journal "Extraordinary." -- Publishers Weekly "City-, sea-, and desertscapes in luminous emerald, sapphire, and topaz hues are richly textured in intricate layers of color, grainy black outlining, and dashing brush marks." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"An eye-filling tour of the medieval Mediterranean." --The Horn Book "A first-person narrative threaded with vivid comments about smells, hazards, misfortunes, spectacles, and local legends encountered along the way. Affords glimpses of distant, exotic places, but also captures the wonder and the terror of travel at a time when living through even a short trip was considered a miracle." -- Starred,Kirkus Reviews "Outstanding execution. The book is filled with a bazaar's worth of detail. It's no surprise that Shulevitz, a Caldecott winner, provides outstanding illustrations, but he outdoes himself here. Together with the evocative text, they capture the sweep of this mysterious and far away world." -- Starred,Booklist "Shulevitz re-creates this epic journey in a picture book of epic proportions. Meticulously researched...Shulevitz's retelling stands as a testimony to the history, wisdom, and fortitude of those medieval Jews living precariously under Christian or Muslim rule." -- Starred,School Library Journal "Extraordinary." --Publishers Weekly "City-, sea-, and desertscapes in luminous emerald, sapphire, and topaz hues are richly textured in intricate layers of color, grainy black outlining, and dashing brush marks." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, March 2005
Horn Book Magazine, March 2005
Publishers Weekly, March 2005
School Library Journal, April 2005
Washington Post, April 2005
Chicago Tribune, June 2005
Horn Book Guide, October 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Library of Congress Summary
A fictionalized account of the travels of Benjamin, a Jewish man from Tudela, Spain, who, in 1159, set out on a fourteen-year-long journey that took him to Italy, Greece, Palestine, Persia, China, Egypt, and Sicily.
Main Description
Through Three Continents in the Twelfth Century Imagine a time when streets were narrow and dirty, towns were surrounded by walls, brigands lurked alongside roads that were treacherous and few, bridges over rivers were rare, and a man setting out on a journey never knew if he would return alive. It was the year 1159 when the medieval Jewish traveler Benjamin left his native town of Tudela in northern Spain on an adventure to see the places he had read about in the Bible. He traveled for fourteen years - from Rome to Constantinople to Jerusalem to Baghdad, among others - by ship, by cart, and on foot, enduring great hardships in his quest for knowledge of other places and people. Working from Benjamin's original chronicle, written in Hebrew, as well as other sources on the period, Uri Shulevitz captures the true spirit of this amazing adventurer, using a text written in the first person and superlative illustrations.
Main Description
Through Three Continents in the Twelfth Century Imagine a time when streets were narrow and dirty, towns were surrounded by walls, brigands lurked alongside roads that were treacherous and few, bridges over rivers were rare, and a man setting out on a journey never knew if he would return alive. It was the year 1159 when the medieval Jewish traveler Benjamin left his native town of Tudela in northern Spain on an adventure to see the places he had read about in the Bible. He traveled for fourteen years - from Rome to Constantinople to Jerusalem to Baghdad, among others - by ship, by cart, and on foot, enduring great hardships in his quest for knowledge of other places and people. Working from Benjamin's original chronicle, written in Hebrew, as well as other sources on the period, Uri Shulevitz captures the true spirit of this amazing adventurer, using a text written in the first person and superlative illustrations. The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
Main Description
Through Three Continents in the Twelfth Century Imagine a time when streets were narrow and dirty, towns were surrounded by walls, brigands lurked alongside roads that were treacherous and few, bridges over rivers were rare, and a man setting out on a journey never knew if he would return alive. It was the year 1159 when the medieval Jewish traveler Benjamin left his native town of Tudela in northern Spain on an adventure to see the places he had read about in the Bible. He traveled for fourteen years - from Rome to Constantinople to Jerusalem to Baghdad, among others - by ship, by cart, and on foot, enduring great hardships in his quest for knowledge of other places and people.Working from Benjamin's original chronicle, written in Hebrew, as well as other sources on the period, Uri Shulevitz captures the true spirit of this amazing adventurer, using a text written in the first person and superlative illustrations. The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
Unpaid Annotation
Beginning in 1159, a Jewish man named Benjamin of Spain set out on a 14-year journey to see places named in the Bible. Working from Benjamin's own chronicle, written in Hebrew, and other sources on the period, Shulevitz captures the true spirit of this amazing adventurer. Full color.

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