Terrible True Tales from the Tower of London by Peter Cottrill

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Terrible True Tales from the Tower of London by Peter Cottrill

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Amy Etherington
Reviewed by Amy Etherington
Summary: The history of the Tower of London: as told by the ravens. This delightful book will entertain and educate both adults and children alike. Full of gory details and little known facts, this is a brilliant book to introduce children to the Tower's rich history.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: July 2017
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1406376883

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The history of the infamous Tower of London is full of gore and death. Its rich history dates back to the eleventh century and since then it has played host to many famous figures, many of them ill-fated prisoners. The history of the Tower is told within this book's pages, only this time it's told by the ravens that live there. They are the Tower's guardians who reside there permanently due to an ancient legend that all of London will fall should they be removed, and after centuries of watching over the Tower they have their own version of history to tell.

Who says learning about history has to be dry and boring? This book was a delightfully entertaining and insightful read that covered a vast amount of the Tower of London's history in just a few chapters. Although designed for children (recommended 9-12 years) this book can be enjoyed by both young and old alike. I read this in an afternoon and found it thoroughly educational and creative. Each chapter is narrated by a different raven of the Tower who in turn covers one of the many areas of the Tower's history - from the gruesome executions to the numerous attempts that have been made to steal the crown jewels. Each chapter is different but they are all equally fascinating and wonderfully funny.

For fans of the Horrible Histories series this is a must: the illustrations fit perfectly with the text and the writing style made me hungrily turn the page for more juicy details. I'm a bit of a history buff and I love the richness of English history but there were details in this book that I knew nothing about. For centuries there was a menagerie at the Tower which kept lions and other wild cats; Henry III even had a polar bear in the mid-thirteenth century! I was surprised by how much I learned from such a short book but it had me completely engrossed. Child or adult, I think many will find enjoyment from this book.

The Tower's history may be bloody and gruesome but there were some brilliant funny parts amidst all of the guts and the gore. The illustrations themselves add much of the humour but the writing style is witty and sharp. You can tell that it's clearly been well researched and mixed within all of the facts is a sense of creativity and fun. I particularly enjoyed that the book was narrated by the ravens of the Tower – each of them has a different character and personality and it was a clever touch to have the infamous guardians of the Tower tell the tales of its history.

This book is delightful. It's clever and creative and a brilliantly executed book for children, but I have no doubt adults will find unlimited pleasure reading this too. I certainly did and I would gladly read it again. A fun and educational read from Historic Royal Palaces. Many thanks to the publishers for providing The Bookbag with a copy.

For further reading anything from the Horrible Histories series is bound to quench any thirst for history, no matter what period. However I would particularly recommend Measly Middle Ages (Horrible Histories) by Terry Deary which offers a more in-depth view of a period which is touched on in this book.

Buy Terrible True Tales from the Tower of London by Peter Cottrill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Terrible True Tales from the Tower of London by Peter Cottrill at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Terrible True Tales from the Tower of London by Peter Cottrill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Terrible True Tales from the Tower of London by Peter Cottrill at Amazon.com.


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