History, like institutional cooking, often is served up as a dry, bland casserole for the masses, full of nourishment, but lacking in piquancy or pizzazz. History as dished up by Candlewick Press spices the stew considerably with its series for children, ages 6-13. The two latest offerings feature fascinating glimpses of long-ago eras, telling it like it really was in a breezy, informative style. Set in an easy-to-read, modern newspaper format, each book is chock-full of news events (“Viking Triumphs Reach New Peak!”); feature articles (“Going Berserk”); eyewitness accounts of battles, hunts and high adventure; and lifestyle tips that provide nuggets of knowledge, such as an ad for whalebone ironing boards from The Viking News or “Perfect Pemmica” from The Stone Age News. The articles, complemented by drawings, charts, intricate borders, glyphs and full-color illustrations by a talented variety of artists, provide a rich, visual melange that effectively engages the reader time and time again. Each book in the series, first published in Great Britain by Walker Books, builds upon established historical and scientific evidence provided by a respected academic consultant in the field. A reader time-line and index are given—useful orientation tools for this hugely entertaining, yet educational endeavor.
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