Children's Literature - K. Meghan RobertsonLearn about Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire, from the spread of Christianity and the rise of Islam to the Vikings and the birth of Russia. Begin with a look at Europe in the late 400s when Rome was steadily declining and Germanic tribes came into power. Justinian is featured through the discussion of Byzantine. Detailed information on the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, Lombards, and Anglo-Saxons follows, along with Charlemagne, or "Charles the Great," with the French. Of particular interest is the "Everyday Life" section and the rise of Islam. Malam includes a unique look at the Great Mosque at Cordoba where the 600 columns are shown from below the floor. With the birth of Russia in the 800s comes understanding of law, taxes, religion, and marriage, of "society in the first millennium." This look at early medieval times fits beautifully in the "History of the World" series, following the same style as the other books. The books in the series feature wide two-page spreads on each topic, laid out with vivid illustrations of both authentic pieces of work as well of maps and replicated items. There are also incredible diagrams that are labeled and often complete with captions to give more information. One of the most utile aspects of each page is a blackened sidebar with an overview of dates or other pertinent information. These are invaluable as a quick reference because the pages are rather busy, being so full of detail. Another really great feature can be found on the Contents/Introduction pages: a timeline that has a separate band for each group of peoples discussed in the set of years covered in the book. This serves as a great comparison for events happening simultaneously in each culture. Reviewer: K. Meghan Robertson
School Library JournalGr 7-10–Similar in style to DK’s “Eyewitness Books,” this appealing series moves from prehistory through medieval Europe and onward to the global issues of today. Along the way, readers are introduced to many prevalent themes in the areas of religion, government, and economics, for example. Spreads discuss a subtopic each, such as the literature and arts of ancient Rome or Inca society and religion. Their effectiveness lies in the combination of lush illustrations, well-chosen, captioned photographs of contemporary artifacts, and reasoned, concise narratives. Succinct time lines border most pages, and effective introductions, the proper amount of white space, and clear dark print maintain organization and clarity. A superior choice.
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