Jules Verne must have rolled in his grave when this butcher-job of a book was published. When I was a kid, I loved Jules Verne novels and read them in their entirety and unabridged, so I was very excited about reading this abridged version to my five year old, who loves sea creatures, ships, and adventures. Man, was I disappointed! This is not an abridgement so much as a molestation of the text. The sentences are so choppy and the pacing is so utterly destroyed, that you will feel more like you are reading a grocery list. And, as if that wasn't enough, the butchers who had the gall to publish this book so watered down (no pun intended!) the content and themes as to make the story almost totally unrecognizable. The encounter with the giant squid? Hacked down to one poorly written paragraph, mentioned almost in passing. The battles with the warships? Gone. The maelstrom at the end? A "storm" in which Arronax, Conseil, and Ned almost casually walked out of the ship and rowed away on a boat!
Remembering even a little of this atrocity now makes me cringe, and I only finished it out of a kind of morbid curiosity. That, and the fact that it really will put you to sleep at night!
And, please, don't get me wrong - I'm all for abridging texts for younger readers. I was introduced to Moby Dick and many other classics in this way and the good ones made me thirst to read the "real" versions when I was older. This version, however, is so horrible that it may put your kid off of the English language all together. So, next time you want to read 20,000 leagues, do yourself a favor and let the "Classic Start" RIP and read the original. And if you don't think your kid can handle the battles and the political commentary and the themes of loss and and revenge, then just go to the grocery store and browse the seafood isle. It'll be more entertaining.