Children's LiteratureOriginally published in Great Britain as Your Medieval Homework Helper, this 32-page overview of the Middle Ages is both a pleasure to read and to use as a reference. Facts are well-organized and well-written. The author can paint an evocative image in one sentence like this one from "Town Life": "Streets were usually narrow, cramped, and dirty, especially on market days when traders, shoppers, beggars, thieves, farmers, and animals all traveled on them." Many of Miss Hodge's books deal with art, particularly art of various cultures. Perhaps that background helps her write so visually and with such interesting detail. Topics covered include rulers and power, religion, the crusades, pilgrimages, life in town and country, food and drink, health and medicine, death, art, buildings, trade, craft, and communications. Fascinating excerpts direct from medieval sources accent each segment. Much of the art work comes from medieval sources. Contemporary photos and drawings add to the visual information. One I studied at length was the photo of an ancient long, pointed, worn leather shoe that surely must be a museum piece. Potentially unfamiliar words are in boldface type and are defined in a glossary box on the same page for the reader's convenience. Web site addresses appear in small boxes next to the information they supplement. A timeline and an index are included. This title is in the "Historic Civilizations" series that also includes Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Rome, and The Aztecs. 2005 (orig. 2004), Gareth Stevens Publishing, Ages 8 up.
Janet Crane Barley