After an introduction that opens with the Roman invasion of Britain and speeds through the next 11 centuries, this hefty volume officially begins with the Norman Conquest and provides a chronological history of England and, to a lesser extent, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The writing is mainly factual, but its short chapters take a narrative approach and include some quotes that are apparently invented; no sources are given at all. Although the occasional fact is questionable (America�s Declaration of Independence is credited to Washington as well as Jefferson), Dillon offers plenty of solid history as well. Printed in color, Lynch�s fine paintings brighten the four-page illustration sections that open each of the six sections. The book�s design features a handsome jacket and a ribbon bookmark. However, most pages are text-heavy and illustrated only with the occasional map or, in each section�s time line, small black-and-white pictures. Though not a replacement for more authoritative volumes, this book offers a very readable introduction to an enormous subject. Grades 6-8. --Carolyn Phelan
About the Author
Patrick Dillon says, "I first fell in love with history through stories, and, thirty years later, found that they were stories my children loved, too. I wanted to show that what happened in the past happened to real people and to explain how the stories I loved made us who we are today." He lives in London.
P.J. Lynch is one of the most talented illustrators working today. He is a two-time winner of the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal, and three of his books, including The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, have been awarded the Christopher Medal. He lives in Dublin.