From School Library Journal
Grades 3-6--Though she includes information on the rediscovery of Mayan culture, ruins, and aspects of daily life, Coulter's focus is on the decipherment and usage of the Mayan syllabary. The author includes the false steps as well as the progress of 19th- and 20th-century researchers and, on many pages, uses "glyph searches" and other hooks to encourage readers to examine carefully the illustrations, which consist of high-quality photos of sites and artifacts, detailed drawings, and clear reproductions. The calendar, ways of naming and identifying people, and counting are all explained in straightforward fashion and in each case the information serves to further the author's goal of making readers think about how these symbols worked and to put them to use. The star attraction is the "Glyphmaster," a spread that provides common signs in relief so that children can make rubbings. There are glyphs for animals, colors, and people, plus a version of the alphabet in which letters are represented by symbols approximating those sounds, even though the text explains that the Mayan system produces syllables, not individual letters. Combining historical information with activity-based ideas, this attractive volume may reach a larger audience than the usual history title.Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3-6. Unlocking the secret of Mayan hieroglyphics was a long and painstaking process, lasting well over a hundred years. Europeans rediscovered early Mayan cities in the 1840s, and their bafflement at the ancient system of writing began a scholarly process that didn't have its final breakthrough until the mid-1970s. Coulter describes clearly and concisely how the mystery was unraveled, while the colorful, well-laid-out pages add appeal with plenty of photographs and stylized drawings that suggest Mayan art. Ideas for crafts, activities and even a party run along the page bottoms. Also explained are the Maya civilization's number system and complex calendar. A time line, short glossary, and short bibliography (of mostly adult books) are appended. A substantive, much-needed resource. Todd MorningCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved