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Great Medieval Projects: You Can Build Yourself (Build It Yourself) Paperback – September 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4–7—This book looks at medieval society, folklore, and culture between the years 350 to 1450 and provides some hands-on activities along the way. Divided into 12 chapters, the text relates information on kings and queens, knights and armor, warfare, everyday life, and religious life. Projects include making a trebuchet, a marshmallow cannon, some period recipes, and a thatched roof. The material is well written and interesting. The "Words to Know" sections are not consistent in their placement in each chapter; some words appear before the list and, in other cases, in the next section. However, all of the words appear in the glossary so readers can skip directly to it to find words they may not understand. The directions for the projects are easy to follow for the most part, but the location of the supply list is inconsistent from one project to the next. All of the drawings, including those for the finished products, are in the same blue color as the text. Aside from some organizational problems, this is a useful text.—G. Alyssa Parkinson, Highland Township Library, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"This book looks at medieval society, folklore, and culture between the years 350 to 1450 and provides some hands-on activities along the way. Divided into 12 chapters, the text relates information on kings and queens, knights and armor, warfare, everyday life, and religious life. Projects include making a trebuchet, marshmallow cannon, some period recipes, and a thatched roof. The material is well written and interesting. . . The directions for the projects are easy to follow. . . this is a useful text"
Sacramento Book Review
"In this handy and well written guide to medieval life, Bordessa not only teaches about the Middle Ages, but includes in each chapter easy to do, interesting, and educational projects that illuminate each subject. . . The many illustrations provide a good feel to the book and the included vocabulary sidebars will help children reading the book on their own (and this is one history book that many children will find inviting.) There is plenty of good history, easy to read, and sneakily educational."
"I've never been to the Renaissance Faire, but castles, knights and all things medieval are a part of our daily life. So I'll start first with a review of Great Medieval Projects You Can Build Yourself, written by the incredibly creative and talented Kris Bordessa (a Northern California resident). When I first hear the title, I thought "hmmm'. . . we're going to learn how to build a guillotine and pour boiling oil on the mailman from the top floor of our house?" Uh, no. Instead, we learned about medieval beliefs, life in monasteries, the makings of a medieval feast and lots on warfare (a favorite topic among 5 year old boys). This book is aimed at kids 9-12, much older than my kids. But that just means we read 2 pages at a time, instead of reading it cover to cover."
"A brand-new title, Great Medieval Projects You Can Build Yourself by Kris Bordessa targets an older audience. It is much more than just an activity guide; we were all fascinated by the amount of information presented in its pages. Throughout, the "Words to Know" text boxes define new terms, a great opportunity for vocabulary learning. Frequent "Did You Know?" sidebars encourage a better understanding of the times. Of course, the heart of the book is the "Make Your Own" instructions for projects. Older children will be able to complete these with minimal oversight from parents."
Sarah Blick, Associate Professor of Art History, Kenyon College
"Wonderfully fun, clearly written, and historically accurate. The illustrations, text, and suggested projects really bring the period to life. Highly recommended!"
Steven Ozment, author of A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People
"Kris Bordessa's minds-on, hands-on guide through the Middle Ages is a bracing immersion in a faraway world for adolescents trying to find their place in the present-day world. "
Jennifer Lawler, author of Encyclopedia of Women in the Middle Ages and Encyclopedia of the Byzantine Empire
"This book is a great way to encourage your child’s interest in the Middle Ages through clever and creative hands-on projects. Engaging and informative descriptions of the time period also provide thought-provoking content to enrich the experience and spark conversation."
Stanley Lombardo, Ph.D.
"Great Medieval Projects, from Nomad Press, offers young readers a delightful introduction to the Middle Ages, via a series of hands-on crafts projects ranging in complexity from a jester's cap and bells to a functional scale-model trebuchet; Not only will children enjoy these projects, but the adults who supervise the more demanding undertakings will find themselves swept back to the days of Viking raiders and stalwart knights battling in defense of their castles; Great Medieval Projects includes fascinating historical material on medieval customs, language, and crafts and is sure to charm a new generation of boys and girls into a love of the Middle Ages."
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Top customer reviews
The projects range from simple recipes to a fairly complex helmet made from plaster of Paris. Many of the projects can be made with materials at hand. The instructions for the projects are somewhat sparse, so additional guidance might be required for younger children who are not skilled at crafting. On the plus side, a lack of details allows more creativity and there is no pressure to make it look "just like the picture". The marshmallow cannon was a particular disappointment, nothing more than a marshmallow shooter (i.e. blowgun) made from PVC pipe, not even vaguely cannon-like.
So if you are just looking for medieval projects to build, skip this book and search out the many more interesting and detailed medieval projects available on-line.
I wasn't sure about this book when I read the reviews so I checked it out from the library. I bought it within days because I just knew it would be a book that racked up fines!