Children's Literature - Uma KrishnaswamiBeautifully designed and including four stunning, see-through, cutaway illustrations, this is a chronicle of ancient China from the Bronze Age to present-day perspectives on the past. An appendix includes key dates and a glossary, as well as a brief note on the sources for quotations from ancient scholars and philosophers. The quotations themselves are scattered through the text, and are skillfully chosen to highlight the material in the various chapters. Superlatives occasionally detract from the content of the book (e.g. "oldest continuous civilization," or "skills unsurpassed anywhere in the world.") The stuff of this book is fascinating in its own right, and can well speak for itself.
School Library JournalGr 6-9The finely detailed, full-color illustrations are the most outstanding feature of both of these titles. The clear plastic overlays that allow readers to see inside a typical Chinese house or an Inca temple are an unnecessary gimmick. Each book begins with an introductory double-page chapter and a map. A chronology helps orient readers to the vast sweep of Chinese history. Subsequent chapters cover such topics as farming, religion, clothing, architecture, and many aspects of daily life. The overly ambitious spread devoted to "The World Outside" traces the end of the Manchu Dynasty (1912), the Cultural Revolution, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in a couple of sentences. This last event is mentioned without any explanation. The Incas devotes the final two chapters to the Spanish conquest, certainly a tale told elsewhere, but rarely with such fine illustrations. Appendixes contain a list of key dates and a brief glossary. These books will be useful for reports or as introductions to the subjects.David N. Pauli, Missoula Public Library, MT
Kirkus ReviewsThis entry in the See Through History series chronicles major events and periods from 3,500 years of the world's oldest continuous culture. Beginning with the Shang dynasty in the Bronze Age, Williams covers war, daily life, religious beliefs, farming, burial, class structure, civil service, cities, homes, and many other aspects of culture and custom, gradually working forward to the modern era. Interspersed throughout is information about the various dynasties and empires, as well as four spreads with transparent overlays, showing the exteriors and interiors of buildings, etc. These are terrific and readers will wish for more of them, and page back and forth for every detail. Lavishly illustrated and dense with information, this is a noteworthy volume.
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