Around the World in 80 Days is a perennial misadventure tale with caricatured characters that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. The unlikely protagonist of Phileas Fogg doesn’t seem to HAVE a character. He is precise and unvarying, seemingly incapable of experiencing passion, yet he undertakes an incredible endeavor and gets the girl, too. His valet, Passepartout, is all amicability and earnest emotions. And of course you must admire the determination of Detective Fix in his ardent pursuit of Fogg, whom he is certain in a nefarious bank robber. This adventure is full of twists and turns.
Finding a game to pair with this book is too easy- there are SO VERY MANY to choose from! Ticket to Ride – USA , or ANY Ticket to Ride base game (some are expansions only so make sure you get the base game) will work. However the USA is the easiest version. This game is a modern classic and fun for young and old! If your child is 8+, I would get this game and not the Junior version. Children might need help with reading some of the words, but it will last a lifetime! If you happen to be amongst the many gaming families that already own a version of Ticket to Ride, Professor Noggin has a Countries of the World Trivia Card set. Alternatively, you can go a completely different route and play a game mentioned numerous times in the book: Whist! Since Mr. Fogg is so obsessed with the game, you should find out what is so engaging. Chances are you have deck of cards lying around the house somewhere, so all you need to do is read the rules. On the off chance you do need to get a deck of cards, you can try to pick up a little French for Passepartout’s sake with this fun deck of 52 French phrases.
Playing all those games might make you hungry, but not being as stuck in your rut as Phileas Fogg, you might enjoy a sampler of snacks from around the world. Even if you can’t take your whole body on a world trip, at least you can book your taste buds a tour.
If you don’t already have a globe, this box is your excuse to finally get one! Each chapter, you can trace the progress of the intrepid travelers as they make their way across the globe. It’s a great way to talk about history as well since some of the places mentioned in the book have shed their colonial era names. Be sure not to get too small a globe; that would make it hard to see. We recommend a sturdy, child-friendly globe like this one. If a globe is too pricey, a wall map is a more budget-friendly option.
Little ones listening in on this novel can make a train route in a box as they listen. This idea from The Imagination Tree blog. It’s such a cute idea and easy to let their imaginations run wild. They might create their own worlds or incorporate scenes described in the book. And if they get tired of a train in a box, they can color in the train printables from Mel’s desk. These train printables were made to be made into flannel trains, but we’re always happy to re-purpose.
Older kids can get more involved constructing the iconic hot air balloon with paper mache. For projects like this, a mini box in the box is fun. Put the supplies (balloons, newspaper, flour, paints, string, etc) in a shoe box in the bigger box. Staying with the hot air balloon theme are these precious paper lantern decorations. They are a perfect little extra to decorate a bedroom or a party book club.
To wrap up the book and the box, choose one of the options for viewing the story. The most recent version stars Jackie Chan or you can choose the classic version or even a mini-series with Pierce Brosnan.