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The Great Wall Of China (Aladdin Picture Books) Paperback – August 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Dramatic gray-toned artwork illustrates a tale about the construction of one of the seven wonders of the world. Ages 6-10.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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There is the aspect of violence. The book does depict people being whipped by soldiers as they are forced into virtual slave labor and it depicts the agony on their faces as they are ripped from the arms of their families and loved ones. The story tells us that those who tried to run away from the project, or complained a lot, were buried alive in this wall. The pictures are in dark, somber tones and the entire book has a rather grim overall feeling.
Now I am a strong believer in telling children the facts of life about the world around them, in particular when it comes to history; but also strongly feel that there is a time and place and appropriate intellectual and physical age that children should be exposed to the entire truth. The age group that this work is targeted for, in my opinion, is a bit young. Being buried alive is not something I want a six or seven year old child going to bed at night worried about.
The drawings in this work are powerful, I will grant you that. I personally liked them, but then again, I am an old man and have seen much, much worse. The story is well told, although it does leave some major historical facts out...playing a bit loose with time elements and the like. When using this book to lead the discussion, I found myself time and again having to add information or explain facts that I should not have had to do.
As I said, children need to learn about such things, it is extremely important they not get a diet of sugar coated history as we have been down that road and have found it does not work very well. I peeve is with the age appropriateness of this work and not the artistic quality.
On the other hand, making decisions of this sort is the responsibility of each parent; they know their kids the best and know what they can and should be able to handle. I just feel that the parent should know what they are getting when they purchase this one.
I am giving this one three stars even though artistically it is probably worth more. The writing is good, but as I indicated, it leaves much out. I do feel as long as this subject is being brought up, the brutality of the whole situation should be examined more closely and the age recommendation should be jacked-up quite a bit. Parents should certainly review this one before they read it to their very young.