A Roman Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin and Grace Cooke

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A Roman Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin and Grace Cooke

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Join three young adventurers as they are sent back in time to the Roman era where they learn all about the times and also solve some fun puzzles.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 80 Date: October 2017
Publisher: b small publishing
ISBN: 9781911509103

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I have studied propaganda in my time and as a rule of thumb the most persuasive arguments are those people don't notice. The same can be said when educating kids. Some children lap up textbooks and non-fiction, but others need to be eased in. Tricking them is perhaps a harsh term, but would you rather learn about Ancient Rome via a dry fact book or an adventure title written in the form of a cartoon and packed full of puzzles and activities?

The Histronauts are three normal school children who find themselves transported back in time to Ancient Rome. Here they meet a slave who needs their help to fulfil his master's wishes for the day. Join the four of them as they learn all about Rome via a series of puzzles and activities including building your own Roman items.

There is a lot going for A Roman Adventure; it oozes quality. The book itself is fully illustrated in colour and has some very engaging images. Cooke has laid out the book like a comic strip and you follow the story through. Every now and again you come across a puzzle that may be a maze or working out the cost of something in Roman coins All of these activities are realised in a lovely style that will make the book more attractive to a child who is not normally drawn towards non-fiction.

Although shown in a cartoon style, there is no dumbing down in this book. Durkin is a historian and she makes sure that the book is actively crammed with information from the era. There are a lot of Roman objects and words to learn. Thankfully, Cooke's illustrations mean that you don't always realise that you are being taught. The blending of a fictionalised story with non-fiction information works brilliantly. There is loads to do in the book from mental puzzles to practical make and do.

With all the information on show, the book does not patronise the reader, but it does leave a lot unsaid. Bearing in mind that the target audience is probably 8-11 year olds, reflecting the true nature of Rome would probably be a bit full on. However, Durkin has laid the foundations of respecting the reader by cramming the book with complex Roman words. Therefore, if you are going to choose a slave as the person to meet who has a Gladiatrix as a sister, you probably need to mention a little bit of Horrible History. Why entirely sanitise the past? Gladiators did not often live more than a year or so once they took up the job.

A Roman Adventure is a very good education tool for a child who already has some knowledge of the era. The complex words mean that the book will appeal most to the child who enjoys the era. By adding the cartoon style and practical tasks Durkin and Cooke are also assuring that the non-traditionally academic children also enjoy themselves. The entire thing has a jolly jam butties style to it that will appeal to many children, but personally I would have like a little bit of real horrible history slipped in their for a more rounded portrayal of Ancient Rome.

If you enjoyed the mystery element of this book, check out The Sewer Demon: The Roman Mystery Scrolls by Caroline Lawrence.

Buy A Roman Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin and Grace Cooke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Roman Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin and Grace Cooke at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Roman Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin and Grace Cooke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Roman Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin and Grace Cooke at Amazon.com.


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