Around the World in 100 Days

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Around the World in 100 Days Book Poster Image
Fun follow-up to the Jules Verne classic.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers will pick up on some geography and history. Also, they will see how different journalism was at the time (not to mention, attitudes about women). Some may be inspired to read the Jules Verne classic Around the World in 80 Days.

Positive Messages

Harry and his fellow travelers ban together to win the big prize. Beyond teamwork there are some other coming-of-age lessons as Harry not only proves himself but also finds his own direction for his life at last.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Harry is a rather thoughtless, directionless wealthy young man at the start of the book. He is kind to others and eventually finds himself through his hard journey. Readers will have no trouble rooting him along.

Violence

Fistfights, Harry and his traveling companion are kidnapped, descriptions of a man who was kicked in the head by a horse. Harry's Indian mother explains how she escaped from her in-laws when they tried to force her to commit sati, an outlawed Hindu custom in which a window burns along with her dead husband.

Sex

Not an issue. A little spark between Henry and the female reporter -- but even the word flirtation is a bit of a stretch.

Language

A racial insult used against an Indian man. An angry woman exclaims that a situation is a "load of horse manure."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The book begins with Harry in prison, surrounded by a bunch of drunks.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sequel to Jules Verne's classic Around the World in 80 Days features some minor mayhem: Harry is arrested, gets into fistfights, and is even kidnapped. Readers will never be too worried about him though -- and they will have no trouble rooting him along. Harry is a rather thoughtless, directionless wealthy young man at the start of the book, but he finds himself through his hard journey. Readers will pick up on some geography and history during the exciting journey, and may even be inspired to read Verne's original novel. 

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What's the story?

Harry is never up to much good: He flunked out of Eton, tells his father he has never even considered a profession, and the book opens with him in jail after crashing his automobile. But when he bets the men at his father's gentleman's club that he can drive his car around the world in 100 days he suddenly has a new purpose. Joined by a group of entertaining misfits for his ride, Harry and his car, the Flash, encounter plenty of mayhem -- but they attract plenty of attention, too. Now if only people would stop comparing him to his father, the famous Phileas Fogg, who managed to win a similar bet years ago by making his way around the world in 80 days.

Is it any good?

There's definitely a little something for everyone here: This is an adventure story, a history lesson, and a coming-of-age tale all wrapped up into one. There's even a little bit of mystery (who is sabotaging the Flash?) -- and a hint of romance, thanks to a strong-willed female journalist who comes along for the ride. Readers who are paying close attention will find some interesting historical details about life around the turn of the century, and those familiar with Verne's original story will appreciate how details from the first book are worked into this sequel. But even those just looking for a fun, fast-moving story to race through will find plenty to hold their interest as Harry and his traveling companions face arrest, kidnapping, vandals -- and worst of all, the threat of losing the bet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about this book being a sequel. Do you know the original Jules Verne story Around the World in 80 Days? Does it matter? What do you think inspired the author to return to this classic story?

  • This book has adventure, history, and even a little mystery worked in. It could also be called a coming-of-age story because Harry matures a great deal during his journey, and even finds his life's path. If you were the librarian, how would you classify it?

  • Which of these elements -- the adventure, history, etc. -- first drew you to the book? What had the most lasting impact?

Book details

For kids who love adventure

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