From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-At first glance, these profusely illustrated books appear to be a lighthearted approach to some grim chapters in the history of the world. Chapter titles are often blithe and the cartoon art depicts the gory and abominable treatment of one group of people by another. But closer examination of the texts and pictures reveals informative books, packed full of the facts students often seek. The first title describes the life of a woman from the Black Sea area who is kidnapped and taken to serve as a slave in ancient Greece. The treatment of the slaves by the aristocracy is depicted along with descriptions of everyday life. Gladiator highlights the superiority of the Roman army, which returned its prisoners to Rome where they were trained to be arena fighters. Rules of battle and types of gladiators are described. Mention is also made of the simulated sea battles that took place in the flooded arenas and of staged wild-animal hunts. Mummy covers the process of embalming and mummification along with the symbolic features of an Egyptian burial. Discoveries of tombs and modern beliefs about mummies are also included. While these books cover material included in other titles, their approach to history will be extremely popular with students who relish a bit of blood and guts along with their historical facts.Elizabeth Stumpf, Clearfield Middle School, PA
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