The Roman Empire by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg

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The Roman Empire by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Rome was not built in a day, so learning all about it may take a while too. Try out this fun guide for confident readers that gives an illustrated journey through the Roman Empire.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: April 2016
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781847808561

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You may not think it from my writing, but I actually have a degree in history. Some of this was on the Roman Empire, but even I struggle to remember what happened when during the time period. The Republic and Empire spanned hundreds of years, so Alexander rocking up with his elephants did not happen anywhere near the rise of Julius Caesar. Modern youths would not think to shove the invention of the microchip in with the Napoleonic Wars, so why would you do this with Rome? Kids need a simple book that tells them about the Roman Empire, but also puts it all in a context and timeline they can understand.

This book may very well be The Roman Empire, a great introduction to the prehistory of Rome, to its splitting and final collapse. Rather than just going into great detail on everything, the book highlights the elements you would expect; Ides of March and Fiddles playing, but also gives a great bird's eye view of the period, interspersed with fun little facts.

This is a book aimed at the Confident Reader and is suitable for the non-fiction and history fan 7-11 year old in the household. This being a book for children it's best to avoid being too dry and here the Greenbergs do a great job. Imogen is the writer and historian who brings the facts to the book. Rather than just listing a series of bullet points or cherry picking individuals from history, she uses a friendly device. This is the form of a young female character who guides you through the book, popping up with extra fun information when required. Some of the way of life for Romans is put into context by this character as you see how she lived. It was also great to have a female protagonist take the lead and it will make the book even more appealing to girls, whilst boys will still gain a lot from the nature of the Romans.

Roman does not have the gruesome preoccupation with gore or the scatological like The Horrible Histories books, but like this popular series, it has an appealing format that is ideal to pop in and out of. This is heightened by Isabel, the illustrator. Each page has well drawn pictures that illustrate the history, the use of terracotta shades means that it feels very Roman. The very format of the book helps with the drawings – it is slightly long and thin, making it something more interesting to handle and look at.

With a commitment to real history and not just frivolity, Roman is a book that would appeal to the mini historian who has a real interest in the subject and not just the oddities of the past. An inclusion of a well-drawn map and timeline means that there is real knowledge to be gained here – I for one benefitted from knowing which Emperor lived when. The only issue may that children who are used to more extraneous history facts could find this book a little serious and dry in places.

They may be a bit grim, but there is no denying that Rotten Romans (Horrible Histories) by Terry Deary is great fun. More serious fact fans can get a lot of knowledge from something like National Geographic Kids Infopedia 2016

Buy The Roman Empire by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Roman Empire by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Roman Empire by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Roman Empire by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg at Amazon.com.


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