The Romans: Gods, Emperors, and Dormiceby Marcia Williams
Meet Dormeo: gladiator, dormouse, berry-nibbler, and guide to ancient Rome. He’s about to lead a tour — from the temperamental gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus to the wolf-raised Romulus and Remus, from the/b>
With her signature comic-strip style, Marcia Williams takes us behind the scenes of some of ancient Rome’s most famous moments.
Meet Dormeo: gladiator, dormouse, berry-nibbler, and guide to ancient Rome. He’s about to lead a tour — from the temperamental gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus to the wolf-raised Romulus and Remus, from the birth of the Roman Republic to the death of Julius Caesar. On the way are fascinating glimpses of life as a Roman citizen, from families to festivals, gladiators to guards, as well as a look at some of Rome’s best-known emperors (good and not so good). Vibrant, engaging, and packed with Marcia Williams’s trademark warmth and humor, this graphic storybook is a young reader’s ideal introduction to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.
Gr 4–8—Guided by a playful dormouse, readers are greeted with page after page of busy illustrations of the beginnings of humankind, including Romulus and Remus's founding of Rome, short histories of some of its notable kings, and culminating in the rise and eventual fall of this sophisticated city. Along the way, children meet the citizens, warriors, and emperors who all contributed to the evolution of this ancient civilization and learn quite a bit of history, via some "res vera," Latin for "facts," courtesy of the dormouse guide. Filled with humor and a bit of attitude, this latest venture for Williams will engage even the most reluctant young readers. An excellent addition to a history or classics curriculum.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH
In cartoon panels, the inimitable Williams offers snapshots of ancient Rome from the mythological creation of the universe to the fall of the empire. Lightly salting her account with Latin quips ("In theobroma cacao fidemus!"), Williams pens a semiserious narrative history broken up into bite-sized bits on single-topic spreads ("The Gruesome Gauls"). She illustrates them with small cartoon scenes that depict significant incidents or scenes of daily life. Dropping side comments and the occasional Res vera ("fact") as he goes, a dozy dormouse aptly named Dormeo Augustus squires young readers along. He leads them past the major gods, the tale of Romulus and Remus, Rome's first seven kings, the Republic, the Caesars and a select few other emperors. There are side excursions to the Forum and a crowded bath, plus glimpses of patrician and plebeian life, slavery, gladiators and the renowned Roman army. Though a certain amount of mayhem makes its way into her account, the author tones down the worst excesses (as Dormeo puts it, the Sabine women were "treated most cruelly"—that's one way to put it) or acknowledges them only in passing. Not a very detailed picture, but broad enough to leave younger readers with a general sense of how grand the grandeur was. (Informational picture book. 8-10)
Meet the Author
Marcia Williams has written and illustrated many books in her highly successful and entertaining comic-strip style. Among her many retellings are Ancient Egypt: Tales of Gods and Pharaohs, Greek Myths, Tales from Shakespeare, and More Tales from Shakespeare. Marcia Williams lives in London.
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Now this is a fun way to learn. I'm pretty sure I have heard of books from Marcia Williams before to learn about history. However, I think this is my first experience. A neat adventure to the past. intriguing illustrations filled with color, a fabulous font provides a plethora of facts. Wonderful for students. Hours could be spent again and again dwelling on these pictures filling the mind. Again, a very fun way to learn. I'll surely be looking for more Marcia Williams to add to our shelves.