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Journey Outside by Mary Q. Steele

Journey Outside (1969)

by Mary Q. Steele

Other authors: Rocco Negri (Illustrator)

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1463118,031 (3.43)7

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Oh - this is the author of The Last Great Snake, a selection in a Junior Great Books that was an excellent story. So, I'm prioritizing this book, and maybe this author.
Ok, it's also a Newbery Honor. ?I look forward to rereading it when our Newbery Club (in Children's Books on GR) gets to 1970. ?áI'm sure this is more than a simply fantasy - it's gotta be allegorical, like Pilgrim's Progress or Gulliver's Travels or something. ?áI love the rough woodcuts - they help ensure a feeling of wonder & thoughtfulness. ?áI believe there's enough adventure in here for most readers, but I'm truly caught up by Dilar's quest, and by the different peoples he meets, and by the different approaches to life each of them represent. ?á

I don't think Steele was familiar with F&SF - some of the details of world-building aren't up to the standards set by writers in that genre. ?áThis is more literary. ?áI gather that her primary passions, at least in 1969, were contemporary: she seemed very concerned with a more liberated society and with ecology. ?áThose concerns of the 'hippies' are still relevant today, and so is this book.

I wish my library had more by her. ?áI *might* be able to get a picture-book of little poems; we'll see.

( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Dilar lives on a raft with his family, in a convoy of rafts that drifts along an underground river. Supposedly the rafts are headed for a "better place," but they never get there, and Dilar starts wondering if they aren't just going in a big circle. This thought consumes him until he hops off the raft onto the riverbank and watches his whole life float away.

He starts climbing up the cave walls and eventually makes it to the surface of the earth, where he gorges himself on peaches and gets a bad subnburn when he falls asleep. A young sheperdess takes him home and for a time he lives with her family. In this society, people are very generous and the concept of private property is comfortably lax, but no one plans ahead for anything. They don't even save firewood for the winter.

When Dilar hears that wise men who can answer any question live over the mountains and far away, he decides to set out looking for them. He meets and stays with many people in many types of societies, each wise but flawed in their own ways: a man who spends his days cooking pancakes for animals, desert people who suck on cactus flesh all day, and finally, a mischevious goatherd who (kind of) answers Dilar's questions about the Raft People, and more importantly, what he should do next.

The Journey Outside was a solid piece of kid's literature, but the whole of the book didn't quite live up to the potential of the premise. The most interesting part (Dilar questioning his upbringing and leaving the rafts) was over in the first few pages. The rest of it was an interesting allegory, but I would have liked to see what happens when/if Dilar decides to go back to his people. As it was, I felt the story was not adequately wrapped up. ( )
  weener | Nov 6, 2011 |
Dilar is one of the Raft People who live on an underground river on a series of rafts floating along living on fish and in search of a 'better place'. He questions this existence and it's truths and one day impulsively leaves the raft. He finds his way to the surface and discovers the beauty of the world. He encounters several other groups living their lives in their own peculiar ways. He's on a quest looking for answers he can take back to his grandfather. It's a story that has been told again and again in recent years. I enjoyed the simplicity and clarity of this book. It was a Newbery honor book, and I'm trying to decide whether to keep in on the shelves. Originally published in 1969. ( )
1 vote oapostrophe | May 31, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Q. Steeleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Negri, RoccoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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...Now I confess that the world, more beautiful
for your presence, was not fine enough to warrant
my summoning you into it...
--Dilys Laing Forgive me
For Allerton, who taught me much of what is in this book.
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"Watch out, Grandfather!"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A boy from the Raft People, who live underground on a dark river, discovers the outside world.
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The Raft People live in darkness and travel a circular journey on an underground river. One boy finds his way outside and tries to learn as much as possible so he can ultimately lead his people to the Better Place.

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