The Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon

By: Greg Pizzoli

Get lost in this unusual and irreverent twist on a picture-book biography. Think: Indiana Jones for eight-year-olds. “Fawcett Hunters.” Glossary. Selected sources. Author’s note. Art note. Photograph of Percy Fawcett. Full-color mixed-media illustrations.

ISBN: 9780670016532

JLG Release: Sep 2017


Sensitive Areas: Realities and dangers of twentieth-century exploration
Topics: Percy Harrison Fawcett (1867–1925?) , Travel , Brazil , Explorers of Great Britain , Biography , History , Exploration and discovery , Central and South America

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Awards & Honors

Amazon.com Best Books of 2017, Children’s Nonfiction
The Nonfiction Detectives, Best Nonfiction Books of 2017

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Book List, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Percy Fawcett dreamed of being an explorer from the time he was a young child in the 1860s; the accounts of his explorer father and brother fueled his enthusiasm. Even his stint in the British Army in Sri Lanka afforded him the opportunity to investigate local jungles. On Fawcett’s return home, he began training through the Royal Geographical Percy Fawcett dreamed of being an explorer from the time he was a young child in the 1860s; the accounts of his explorer father and brother fueled his enthusiasm. Even his stint in the British Army in Sri Lanka afforded him the opportunity to investigate local jungles. On Fawcett’s return home, he began training through the Royal Geographical Society, learning, for instance, which plants were poisonous and which were not. The Society hired him to map areas of Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru, including some of the most dangerous regions of the Amazon rain forest. Fawcett kept coming home safe and finding a new trip to lead. Throughout, he heard rumors of a fantastic ancient city reportedly deep in the Amazon area, a ruin he wanted to locate. So off he went in April 1925, with his 21-year-old son and another young man. Fawcett sold his story to a newspaper and promised regular reports so the papers could bring “live” news to their readers. This offering is for daring readers who prefer nonfiction: there’s an unknown explorer to pique their interest, great back matter to demonstrate how to deepen their research, and Pizzoli’s clever, humorous illustrations. However, this is very much a tale of British colonialism and will likely need to be supplemented with further discussions. VERDICT A swashbuckling adventure for large elementary school and nonfiction collections.—Dorcas Hand, formerly at Annunciation Orthodox School, Houston

Horn Book

Pizzoli (Tricky Vic, rev. 5/15) recounts the true and mysterious tale of Percy Fawcett, the early-twentieth-century British adventurer who disappeared in the rainforests of Brazil while searching for a lost ancient city that he called “Z.” The straightforward, chronological story is supplemented with maps, logbook-style illustrat Pizzoli (Tricky Vic, rev. 5/15) recounts the true and mysterious tale of Percy Fawcett, the early-twentieth-century British adventurer who disappeared in the rainforests of Brazil while searching for a lost ancient city that he called “Z.” The straightforward, chronological story is supplemented with maps, logbook-style illustrations (which label creatures and equipment), and sidebars. Dialogue inside speech bubbles (“Just stay alive!”) is more casual in tone, lightening the narrative. Information in the sidebars delivers background on topics ranging from the Royal Geographical Society in London to mosquitoes. The artist’s unique mix of techniques (including silkscreen and photocopied content) gives images a thick, textured feel. Repeated z-shapes (representing a river switchback, a snake, a ship’s wake) crisscross up and down the pages, offering visual intrigue. The color palette emits the heat and lush atmosphere of the rainforest, and hues brighten in moments of danger and suspense. Background information regarding colonial history is incomplete, and readers will be left with more questions than answers regarding a scene in which Fawcett’s company is attacked by native Amazonians. Sidebars, a glossary, and a list of sources are included. elisa gall

Book Details

ISBN

9780670016532

First Release

September 2017

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

9 1/2" x 7 1/3"

Page Count

48

Accelerated Reader

Level 6.8; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 10.8; Points: 2;

Lexile

Level NC1190L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Viking

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Realities and dangers of twentieth-century exploration

Topics

Percy Harrison Fawcett (1867–1925?), Travel, Brazil, Explorers of Great Britain, Biography, History, Exploration and discovery, Central and South America,

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