- Age Range: 3 and up
- Series: 1001 Things to Spot
- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: Usborne Pub Ltd (June 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0746033184
- ISBN-13: 978-0746033180
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 9.2 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,543,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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1001 Things to Spot Long Ago Paperback – June, 1999
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Pros: This is more than a counting book... This book transports kids to other times and civilizations - it is intended to unlock their imagination. The images are full of details with silly elements. It has a very cartoony or Where's Waldo feel but appropriate for a younger audience. I feel it would motivate kids to want to learn more about history and other cultures.
Cons: I feel the book could have introduced history/cultures even better if it stuck to village or city scenes instead of microfocusing on the royal court or one craftsman type workshop. Frequently, the things to find and count do not teach aspects of the culture at all (like finding people eating or sleeping) - what a wasted opportunity. Plus, the "____ years ago" notation under each title, means the book is already out of date. The 1950s are no longer 45 years ago but closer to 60 years ago.. and that gap will just grow as time passes. They should just have put the actual BC and AD dates to prevent the books from becoming outdated. Also, why did they leave out certain cultures while doubling up on others or spending so much time in only one continent? No Chinese or Japanese pages, nothing from Africa other than the Egyptian pages, nothing from Russia even though its one of the largest countries in the world, etc.... But, the book showed European countries seven times... I know they were trying to show all the major time periods to a European audience, but how can you skip entire continents filled with culture to show court scenes of wealthy people?
The following scenes are included:
- At the market in Mesopotamia - 4000 years ago. I liked this scene as it seemed to depict how people lived in ancient times. In fact, much of the scene reminds me of areas all over the Middle east where families used the rooftops as rooms to their homes.
- Pharaoh's court in Egypt - 3500 years ago. I wish they had done a city or street scene like they did for Mesopotamia and included things like camels or pyramids instead of counting patterned rugs and monkeys. I would have loved to see an Egyptian boat on the Nile with crocodiles, papyrus, etc. In this picture, all the people in the scene are basically worshiping, entertaining, offering gifts, etc. to the pharaoh. So overall disappointed at the narrow viewpoint.
- Watching a Play in Greece - 2300 years ago. I wish they had done a city or street scene like they did for Mesopotamia and included things like counting pillars or busts or warships.. instead of people eating and people laughing. In this picture, all the people in the scene are basically watching a play or are in the play. You do not even get to see the full shape of the amphitheater. I think the amphitheater should have just be one thing in a full city scene, not the sole focus. So disappointed.
- In the Garden in Rome - 2000 years ago. I wish they had done a city or street scene like they did for Mesopotamia and included things like counting gladiators or chariots or togas.. instead of counting roses and apples. In this picture, all the people in the scene are either slaves working or adults eating or kids playing. I really do not look at this scene and think Rome so disappointed. Would have been great if included in larger city scene.
- A Viking Voyage in Norway - 1200 years ago. Even though this was not a village or street scene, I felt it was well done and really made you feel the culture of the sea-faring people. Though, they still could have included the village in the background... at least they showed their ships and dress well and the animals were appropriate.
- A Castle Feast in England - 600 years ago. Yes, this does portray the medieval times in which peacocks and tons of other meats were eaten in court (a very unhealthy diet). But I expected the castle image from the front of the book with serfs working in the fields, knights in the castle, maybe some siege engines. I don't know why they would show one image on the cover then give something completely different inside.
- The artist's workshop in Italy - 550 years ago. This is the Renascence, but all you get to see is a room packed of artists and their making mistakes seems to take center stage. Again, I wish this was more expansive to show some more of what life in this time was like. So disappointed.
- An Inca Farm in Peru - 500 years ago. YES! This one is awesome! We have images of Inca life from what the village looked like to the terraces and growing potatoes and corn... A tiered temple/palace could have been on the mountain in the distance to complete the look but overall I loved this page.
- Going Hunting in India - 350 years ago. Out of all the things you could represent for India... you choose a bunch of rich guys going on a tiger hunt by horse of elephant. No depth of culture other than dress code. What a shame.
- Dressing up in France - 250 years ago. White faces and white wigs on wealthy people whose servants rush around to get them ready. Boring and too narrow focused.
- A wagon train in North America (United States) - 200 years ago. Seems ok to me.
- Going Shopping in England - 130 years ago. Loved this page. Packed full of street life and humor you have to pay attention to see.
- The Drive-In Movies in North America (United States) - 45 years ago. Was nothing special to me. They should have done a world's fair as that would have been far more interesting.
Usage: Count the objects shown on the edge of the picture. Find the spider and web in each picture. After completing the entire book, find the 23 objects listed on page 30.
Overall, I believe kids are going to enjoy looking at the images even more than counting the objects in them... but this book does not meet the educational needs I had hoped and I wish I never bought it.
I also purchased 1001 Things To Spot In Fairyland at the same time as this book, and they LOVE that one. Very girlie - lots of pink, fairies, etc. So if you're looking for one of these great books for girls, go with the Fairy one.
I wish the publisher would put pictures of the interior on Amazon so you could see the illustrations.
One sidenote: I thought it was curious that the authors mention specific countries with the dates with every illustration - like England, France, Egypt, etc. - but when it came to drive-in movies in the 1950's and the wagon trains and Indians in the 1800's, they said "North America" instead of the "United States". Those were the only 2 illustrations in the whole book where they mentioned a continent instead of a country. Those 2 things are uniquely American - almost wondered if there was a little anti-American bias going on? Strange.