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Galen: My Life in Imperial Rome Hardcover – October 1, 2002

3.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ably balancing fact and fiction, Moss (the Amelia's Notebook and Young American Voices series) uses her signature notebook-style jottings and drawings to launch the Ancient World Journal series. The fresh, diverting first-person account of fictitious 12-year-old Galen, an aspiring artist, describes life as a slave in the palace of Emperor Augustus. As the tale opens, Galen is living with his artist father and brother as slaves of Pollio, a pompous equestrian who bought Galen's father to have him decorate his villa. A dramatic incident occurs while the emperor Augustus visits the villa on his way home to Rome: Pollio threatens to kill Galen's brother when the boy accidentally breaks a treasured wine cup. Augustus, outraged by Pollio's cruelty, buys the family and takes them to Rome with him. The chatty narrator recounts the goings-on in the busy household (which includes Augustus's cold wife, Livia, and his scheming, bullying grandson, Agrippa) while providing a clear, intriguing portrait of ancient Roman life, with such customs as gladiator fights, chariot races and celebrations of the Saturnalia and the feast of Liberalia. Moss's marginal notes in Galen's engaging voice plus his sketches offer insight about food, dress ("Togas are impossible to drape by yourself") and hairstyles. Moss caps this account with Galen's climactic discovery of a plot to poison Augustus so that Iullus Antonius can become emperor. Youngsters will be so drawn into the story that they might not realize how much history they're learning along the way. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-Galen, a 12-year-old Greek slave living in Augustus Caesar's household, is working alongside his father, a famous artist, decorating Livia's new house. When he discovers a plot to assassinate the emperor and his stepson Tiberius, he saves Augustus's life and gains freedom for himself and his family. Other than Galen, his family, and two others, all of the characters are historically accurate, as are many of the events. In the course of the story, youngsters will learn about slavery in Roman society, the members of the emperor's immediate family, how and where people lived, the foods they ate, chariot racing, gladiators, and more. The text looks handwritten and there are many small drawings (Galen's practice sketches), most of which have captions. One caveat: the varying size of the font may confuse readers. Sometimes the smaller font indicates a caption, sometimes the main text.
Lynda S. Poling, Long Beach Public Library, CA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Series: Ancient World Journals
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Silver Whistle; 1 edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152165355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152165352
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Marissa Moss's book, written as if by a 12-year-old slave in the court of Augustus, is full of fascinating and accurate facts. The illustrations in particular are charming and very useful in painting a picture of daily life in 1st century Rome.
This book would be a great resource for any class studying the ancient Romans. It would also be a useful complement to my own series of children's historical novels (The Roman Mysteries) set in a slightly later period. A big thumbs-up!
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Format: Hardcover
This beautifully done little book is a happy find indeed for youngsters studying Rome. There's a wealth of factual information about Imperial Rome here, presented in a most engaging way. We couldn't put it down! Nice Bonus: Inside the back cover you will find the clearest, simplest, most concise explanation of Roman numerals I've ever run across.
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By Ruth Angela on February 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Has an interesting point of view. It seems to help children relate to this period of history. good graphics and images.
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