From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-These lively and visually appealing overviews are simple enough to be used by youngsters who have no background knowledge of either of these cities, and provide enough information to establish a decent understanding of the subjects. Both books have double-page topic treatments that include full-color photographs, reproductions, and lifelike illustrations. Many of the subjects focus on daily life, such as the arts, religion, school, and slavery. While both titles touch on modern events such as the Tiananmen Square shootings in 1989 and a modern-day center established to collect ancient manuscripts in Timbuktu, the majority of these texts focus on the distant past.Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
It's not easy to give an accurate, balanced overview of a city's long history in just a few illustrated pages, and the title on Beijing in this Cities through Time series is not recommended. In the case of Timbuktu, however, this account is a welcome corrective to prevailing images of the West African city as a ridiculous, primitive jungle outpost. In fact, 400 years ago Timbuktu was an international center of learning with two universities and 180 schools, a place of trade and culture, wealthier than Rome or London. Brooks describes that golden age and then the historical forces that led to the city's decline; he concludes with a quick look at daily life there today. The book is heavily illustrated, and the original, double-page, color illustrations are sometimes obtrusive; more effective are the occasional quiet historical photos and paintings. A map is not included, but a time line and a bibliography are appended. Hazel Rochman