Children's LiteratureHan Wu Di ruled ancient China for 54 years, one of the longest reigns in Chinese history. During that time he developed a university system, established a national civil service, took over the coinage of money, set up a system of canals and dikes to promote commerce and protect land from floodwaters, opened the Silk Road, and by his reign's end, nearly doubled the country's size. An impressive run, without doubt, yet only one-third of the book is devoted to its telling. The remainder of the text covers various aspects of ancient China, from religious beliefs to clothing and adornment to inventions and the arts, concluding with samples of ancient Chinese fables, myths, and poetry. Photographs and sample works of art complement the text aimed at mid-level readers. Really, it is all very well done and there is little to find fault in here, except that it is all a bit dry. Chapters are appealingly short and the text is easy to follow, but I wonder if it will capture the imagination of students who have been fed a steady diet of television, video games, and the Internet. For those that do dig in, a glossary, bibliography, and resource page provide additional information. 2006, Benchmark/Marshall Cavendish, Ages 11 to 13.