Monday, March 3, 2008

Unearthing Ancient Worlds: Non-Fiction Monday

I recently had the chance to review two books from an awesome new series, perfect for Non-Fiction Monday here in the Kidlitosphere. The series is titled "Unearthing Ancient Worlds" and currently has four titles. The books are geared towards the older middle grade reading level, possibly even into the teens and are great for not only homework and school projects, but really tell a story making them good "entertainment" reads as well.

Palenque is the first book I had the opportunity to read and enjoy. Ancient Mayan ruins located in Mexico, Palenque was first uncovered in 1840, but it was not until the 1950's that archaeologists began their intense work on the city of Palenque. Beautiful photographs illustrate just how amazing the ruins are, from the outside in. There are also photographs of ancient Mayan artifacts found during the discovery of Palenque, as well as maps depicting just where the site is located. Quotes from different sources, including the New York Times newspaper, archaeologists at the 1950's site, and from John Stephens, the man who originally came upon Palenque in the 1840's, are also scattered throughout the book.

Pompeii was the book I was very excited about reading through. The story of Pompeii has always intrigued me and I really enjoyed being able to peruse photographs and paintings of just what happened the day Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. Pompeii was officially discovered in the 1730's though the book has records of people finding artifacts long before then. I was able to learn a lot of different facts about the process of uncovering the ancient Roman city and how the archaeological digs were conducted. The pages of this book are filled with photographs of artifacts found and tons of facts about what was going on in the world both when Pompeii was buried and when it was uncovered.

These are great books for visual learning, as well as text reading. They are written in a very flowing manner, rather than dry like a lot of non-fiction books, and read almost like a story. The photographs and paintings depicted in the books are amazing and the huge amount of facts offered is astounding. Both are filled with maps, timelines, a glossary, and even a word pronunciation guide, which is something a lot of books need. Overall I was very impressed with these books and will be ordering the rest of the series for our library shelves.

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