Meet the… Ancient Romans and Meet the… Ancient Egyptians are sturdy, non fiction picture books that introduce children (and adults!) to life in ancient times. Each book opens with an introduction to the era, includes a wealth of fascinating historical facts and ends with a timeline. The Meet the… books are full of fascinating, often humorous facts which are also compared to children’s experiences today.
We’re impressed by how much research has gone into these books. We love the simplicity of the texts, particularly the speech bubbles and the cartoons, and the way that information is given in bite sized chunks. All aspects of the peoples’ lives are covered, including lots of gruesome facts which appeal to young readers, and the way that connections are made to modern life are brilliant, there are references to the fact that in ancient times there were no supermarkets, Internet or jeans!
Meet the Ancient Romans: A map of Italy shows us exactly where Rome is situated then the story of the birth of Rome is told in a cartoon. Prominent Roman Emperors are introduced and we are also given insights into life in the Roman Army as well as life for Roman families, rich and poor. Other topics covered include food and farming, clothes, housing, entertainment, how the empire ended and Rome as it is today.
Particular highlights in Meet the… Ancient Romans are the use of curse tablets, what rich Romans used instead of toilet paper and the way that the Romans lay on their beds to eat. We learnt about mosaics, how doctors treated illness, what women used as make up and even what kind of material their underpants were made of!
The illustrations are predominantly black, white and grey on a red background. We love the way that Emperor Constantine sleeps with his teddy and our favourite illustration shows the horse who can’t ‘giddy up’ at the chariot races!
Meet the Ancient Egyptians: A map of Ancient Egypt shows us where it is located in the world and we are given a brief history of how the civilisation started. Fabulous Pharaohs and Great Royal Wives are introduced and there are lots of fascinating facts about mummies, pyramids, The Great Sphinx, The Fall of the Roman Empire and modern day Egypt.
Particular highlights in Meet the… Ancient Egyptians are how food was stored in a hole in the ground (not to be confused with the toilet!), their favourite drink (which surprised us!) and fake beards! We learnt about mummifying a body, the journey to the afterlife, clothes, hair and make up and the names of the most famous Pharaohs, Gods and Goddesses.
We love the predominantly black, brown and white illustrations on a yellow background. My daughter loves the illustrations showing how to mummify a body (including a warning to not try this at home – especially step two which relates to removing all the organs!) and I love the headlines on the newspapers about Tutankhamun’s mummy.
These gorgeous little picture books would make a fantastic addition to a school library or home bookshelf, they’re perfect for even the most reluctant readers. With their bitesize chunks of information and humorous illustrations they include so much learning and can stimulate interesting discussions. They’re the perfect introduction to historical periods for readers both young and old, we all learnt new facts in our house 🙂
Age Range: 6 +
Author / Illustrator: James Davies
Thank you to Big Picture Press for sending Meet the… Ancient Romans and Meet the… Ancient Egyptians. We hope that there will be more of these fascinating books.