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Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Journey to the Centre of the Earth Book Poster Image
Classic requires patience and a large vocabulary.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

A product of the time in which it was written, to modern eyes the book is rather sexist: "a girl would only be in the way," etc.


Several injuries through accidents.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine and gin, and one smokes a pipe.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's little of concern here, beyond a few moments of sexism, but the world of 19th-century Europe was definitely a man's world.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous August 18, 2018
Adult Written byPppoint July 6, 2018
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

its good

it is a great adventure it loks interesting for the yougsters
Teen, 13 years old Written bymadelineshadowrose January 1, 2012

annoying book

This is horrable the main charecter is a whining jerk who we don't even know his NAME it keeps swicing from Harry to Henry and back again don't bother

What's the story?

Professor Lindenbrock and his nephew Axel discover an old document that purports to show the entrance in an extinct volcano to a series of caverns leading to the Earth's center. Following the instructions, they undertake a hazardous journey deep within the Earth, where they find an underground world complete with ocean, and flora and fauna left from an earlier epoch.

Is it any good?

This classic work of imaginative fiction from one of the fathers of the science-fiction genre has lasted for nearly 150 years for a reason -- it's exciting and brilliantly inventive, even visionary. It has been made into numerous movie versions (imdb.com lists 13), including the Classic with James Mason. With each new version, viewers may be interested in reading the book it was based on. Normally you'd be glad to pass along the unabridged original (in one of its several translations from the original French) of a classic to your child, but in this case all but the most experienced readers are going to find it very heavy going. Pushing something like this on children before they are ready for it can often spoil it for them forever.

Verne was writing in an earlier era for a mostly adult audience, presumed, if they were literate enough to be reading novels for pleasure, to be very well educated. The vocabulary is advanced, the descriptions lengthy, and the scientific and literary references removed from the experience of most young readers. Experienced teens will enjoy it, and younger experienced listeners may enjoy hearing it read by an adult with the patience to stop often for explanations. Younger readers will do better to look for one of the many adaptations: illustrated, comic, and graphic novel versions (see the other choices section below for a free online version), retellings, condensed, abridged, and edited versions, and movie novelizations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether or not you think this story could be possible. Could there be vast caverns under the Earth, possibly with hidden civilizations? Could there be a giant ocean? Could plants and creatures from a previous epoch have survived down there? What does modern science know for sure about the interior of the planet?

Book details

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