Journey to the Centre of the Earth Book Poster Image

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Classic requires patience and a large vocabulary.

What parents need to know

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.

Violence

Several injuries through accidents.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

Parents say

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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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Jules Verne
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Puffin
Publication date:January 1, 1864
Number of pages:337
Publisher's recommended age(s):12

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What parents and kids say

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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
Teen, 13 years old Written byzorba1994 April 9, 2008

A good Classic

A solid read, but may be a bit slow for younger readers. Sex: None (no issue) Violence: Dinosaurs fight in distance of the threesome. A hurricane is tense. The characters almost die of thirst (no issue). Social Behavior: Professor Lidenbrock seems to have no regard for his safety or for that of his companions (safety as in not turning back when they ran out of water) and is portrayed as a little insane(not issue) Alcohol/Drugs: The adventurers take gin with them as their only liquid, expecting to find an underwater stream, Professor Lidenbrock smokes a pipe. (pause) Educational Value: They travel to a place that does not exist, and the book was written with scientific self-assuredly. No-one can survive being inside an active volcano. Also, Verne made many mistakes geographically and geologically when pointing out facts, for example, he mistook the island farthest to the West from Iceland as the one farthest to the East (these are pointed out in the version I got, but maybe not in yours) (PAUSE) Overall: Mature 11-12+ normal 13+ immature or impatient 14-15+. However these ages are just because younger readers would get bored, or not understand it.