Book Review: Discover! by Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

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Do your kids want to find out about The Ancient Egyptians, The Roman Empire, The Ancient Greeks or the Aztec Empire? Kids in Museums Volunteer, Maggie Monteath, suggests you have a look at Discover! a new series of history books written by Imogen Greenberg and illustrated by her sister Isabel.

There is so much to like about these comic style books – perfectly pitched at children eight and above. They are really attractive, slim volumes (they fit in my handbag!) with loads of information packed into around 30 pages and illustrated with rich ‘heritage’ colours in a naive style. Inside, you’ll find a double page spread about each different theme. Just looking at the pictures gives you lots of information and will draw in even the most reluctant reader. You get more information from the amusing speech bubbles and by the time you’ve read the text too you’ll know plenty of facts about that particular period in history. Each book has a simple fold out timeline and map that really help you understand what’s happening when and where and ends by showing how important archaeologists have been in finding out about the past.

The Ancient Egyptians tells you about Pharaohs and Ancient Egyptian society (I loved the way this was illustrated within a pyramid). It also explains religion, gods, mummification, sacred animals, daily life, the Nile, farming, hieroglyphs, some amazing Ancient Egyptian achievements, including the first 365-day calendar, and, of course, tomb robbers.

In The Roman Empire, you’ll find out about the way they lived, their religion, gods, lots about gladiators as well as the Roman Army and their engineering and architectural achievements.

The Ancient Greeks explores city states, democracy, society, famous ancient Greeks, the Persian Wars, Alexander the Great, religion, gods, myths and the Olympic Games. To introduce philosophy as well as The Iliad and The Odyssey at an appropriate level for this age group is an amazing feat.

The Aztec Empire includes information about famous Aztecs such as Moctezuma, religion, gods, their creation story, society, daily life, war, warriors, art, poetry, the Spanish Conquistadors and (my favourite) chocolate.

These books never disappoint and make me want to find out more about what people did in the past. The books are American and include spellings such as ‘color’ and ‘theater’ – this could be a great opportunity to talk about the differences between UK and US spelling.I really can’t recommend these books highly enough.

Each one is a pleasure to read and well worth £8.99.

Discover! by Imogen and Isabel Greenberg is available by the publisher Frances Lincoln Children’s Books – Price: £8.99. 

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