Tony Robinson's Weird World of Wonders: Egyptians by Tony Robinson
|Tony Robinson's Weird World of Wonders: Egyptians by Tony Robinson|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A good primer to the world of ancient Egypt, but your nearest passing primary school teacher should be more humorous.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 160||Date: April 2012|
|Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books|
You could be mistaken for thinking Tony Robinson had written books like this before, for he was doing 'Horrid History'-style TV programmes before the official ones were made. This series fits so well into his erudite yet family audience-friendly manner, and this launching book takes us to the strangest of worlds - yet one only a museum visit away, that of the ancient Egyptians. A lot is in these pages - complete with adult stuff glossed over (just how in-bred were those Ptolemys?!), the gross-out being relished (making mummies, and some alleged Egyptian medicines) and the obvious differences between them and us foregrounded so we can empathise with them (and at the same time remember it's harder for most of us to sleep on our roofs than they would have found it).
The book seems to have a switch in style along the way, from covering the obvious superlative of the Pyramids with a chatty approach, to clumping the slightly stuffier history and civilisation's end at the back. But everything you'd expect is covered, and more - the gods, the toys, the hieroglyphs, the building materials, social structure... It's all in here, bar the kitchen sink they never had, and the scarab.
I wasn't too keen on the interjections from the Curiosity Crew that illustrator Del Thorpe (or someone) has come up with. Sometimes they're useful for adding scale to photos of relics, etc, other times they just get in the way by losing their dog, and one of their speech bubbles makes no sense at all (page 81, if you must). It's not as if the book needed livening up; the illustrations are plentiful, whether cartoon, photo or useful diagram. Some extra caption competition rejects were not of any benefit.
All in all, though, the book is a success - entertaining enough, all-encompassing, and despite the copious box-outs, interjections and questions as chapter-headings, readable in one easy, informative flow. If the 'humour' had been more successful it could have made a good book very good.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
A different approach to the subject can be had with Hieroglyphs From A To Z by Peter Der Manuelian.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Tony Robinson's Weird World of Wonders: Egyptians by Tony Robinson at Amazon.com.
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