This was interesting to read and I have already thought of some activities for my students to do. (But, I’m not going to lie–a lot of these I am stealing from the teacher I am replacing!)
Before reading Around the World in Eighty Days, I had seen different variations of it in cartoon and movie.
Now, the movie with Jackie Chan does hold some similarities to the book. But, the book does not include China (other than a quick stop in Hong Kong) nor an ancient Chinese artifact with ancient Chinese kung-fu legends. Also, Fogg is not a goof, but a very quiet, stoic, calm man and Passpartout is the one who is clumsy and a goofball.
The book is about Phileas Fogg, an anti-social man who’s passion is exactness in everything he does. He has just hired a new valet, a Frenchman named Passpartout. He has made a wager with some socialites that it is, in fact, possible to travel completely around the world in 80 days, including the possibility of delay. They set off. But, unrelated to these two men, the Bank of England has been robbed and the robber happens to look like Fogg, so Detective Fix believes it is Fogg and follows him around the world, trying to delay him in British colonies as to arrest him. They save a woman’s life in India and Ms. Aouda becomes their companion. I won’t spoil the end for you, but it definitely has a few twists.
I love how Verne describes each place that Fogg and Passportout stop at. He certainly must have done his research on each part of the world to be that accurate. True, there is a bit of exaggeration due to legend and myth that followed exotic places back to civilization. But, he does a great job and I barely had to use my imagination to visualize their journey. I also think he tastefully describes the polygamous Mormons in the Territory of Utah during the time in which relations between the Mormon and the Federal Government were strained.
A fun activity to do with my students is to keep track of Fogg’s travel itinerary to see how long it took for him to get from place to place and with what mode of transportation.
Another fun activity is to keep Fogg’s money log to see how much he spends where and why.
I think maybe even a mini-exploration project in groups to discover more about the different places they traveled in the book.
It is a very interesting and exciting read. Definitely pick it up if you have the urge for a vacation but don’t have the time nor the money.
4.5 out of 5.
4.5 out of 5.