The Ancient Egyptians by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg
There was more to the Ancient Egyptians than keeping the entrails of their dead in a jar, but that is a pretty cool fact anyway. As a civilisation they knocked around for centuries until Cleopatra had a nasty incident with an Asp. Cramming all the information on one of the most complex and intriguing peoples of all time is a big ask; making it assessable to children is even bigger. Imogen and Isabel Greenberg have attempted this in The Ancient Egyptians.
|The Ancient Egyptians by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler
|Summary: Learn all about the Ancient Egyptians in this well illustrated children's non-fiction book that explores the day to day life of people from that era.
|Date: April 2016
|Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
|External links: Author's website
This children's non-fiction title is part of a Discovery series by the authors that also includes The Roman Empire. The books set out to make history accessible for the eager 7-10 year old and whilst the book on the Romans achieved this, the book on the Egyptians is more of a mixed bag. This could be because I knew more about Rome before reading the books, but of the two, The Ancient Egyptians is a slightly harder read.
The book is initially very appealing. It comes in a long thin hardback that stands out and the colour scheme is all shades of terracotta that evokes the period. Rather than just list a series of facts Imogen Greenberg has created a way of inviting the reader in. At the start you are introduced to a character who acts as your guide throughout. She pops up on occasion to give helpful factoids or try and explain in a little more detail what is going on. Like other books in the series it is nice to see a female protagonist taking the lead, this means that the book would appeal even more to a child looking for female influence in a topic called HIS story.
Were the book falls down is the sporadic nature of the information itself. Each two page spread tackles a topic that is key to knowing who the Egyptians where, but they don't always seem to link to previous topics. Whilst the Roman book was able to follow the history of the civilisation, the Egyptians is more about looking at their way of life. This means that the book lacks a little of the dynamism of the other book.
What is still present is Isabel Greenberg's illustrations. They add real colour to the book and draw the eye. What I did notice here was the use of written style text for the spoken words of the characters. This means that the text about history is an easy to read font, the spoken work is not. A reader who is not that confident may struggle slightly with the text.
For a young history buff there is still a lot to recommend The Ancient Egyptians, it is packed with colour and information. The issue is (and this may reflect more on the time period than the writers) that the book is a little dry. There is not much irreverence here and a lot of information is on topics such as stargazing or maths. To a certain child this could be great entertainment, but I was always one more drawn to the dafter or darker elements of history.
You can check out the other book in the series The Roman Empire or read some history that is a little dafter Awful Egyptians (Horrible Histories) by Terry Deary.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Ancient Egyptians by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Ancient Egyptians by Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg at Amazon.com.
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