This informative book provides a comprehensive exploration of Aztec lifestyles, traditions, and beliefs. One large illustration is centered between two facing pages, with text and smaller illustrations surrounding it. The different fonts and styles break up the text and make it easier and more interesting to read. The realistic illustrations recreate what life would have been like in ancient times, fulfilling the title of the series, "If You Were There." Unique features can be found on the extended back cover of the book. A time line comparing events occurring in Aztec lands and the rest of the world is on the inside cover, which folds out for a board game on the other side. Includes index.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7--Both of these books feature 11 topics on double-page spreads, illustrated with colorful, detailed paintings. The texts appear to be little more than captions for the artwork, but they communicate a lot of information. Aztec Times includes the origins of this early civilization, daily life and customs, and the arrival of the Spanish. Viking Times, while not discounting the warlike ways of the northern folk, covers explorations and trade, the Norman conquerors of England, and the Christianization of the Vikings. Each book includes a world time line and a pictorial map. The back covers fold out into game boards with directions (and should present no difficulties in circulation). The games differ in how they are played, and are sufficiently complex to keep young people interested. Joanna Defrates's What Do We Know About the Aztecs? (Peter Bedrick, 1993) has a similar format for the same age group; Tim Wood's The Aztecs (Viking, 1992) goes into more detail. Fiona MacDonald's How Would You Survive as an Aztec? (Watts, 1997) is even more interactive. Margaret Mulvihill's Viking Longboats (Watts, 1989), in spite of the title, has much the same coverage, although in less detail; while Jacqueline Morley's How Would You Survive As a Viking (Watts, 1995) shares the interactive format of the Aztec entry in the same series. These are attractive, useful additions wherever more material is needed.--Pam Gosner, formerly at Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ