Horrible Histories 2012 Annual
• Foul Facts
• Crafty Cartoons
• Putrid Puzzles
Filled with treacherous tyrants, brutal buccaneers, evil emperors and violent villains, it's full of foul folk you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley - but who are great to read about on a dark winter's night.
Packed with the classic barmy blend of foul facts, cartoon strips, stories, jokes, activities and puzzles, the 2012 Annual includes a whole heap of nasty bits.
I was lucky enough to be able to review both this and the Horrible Science 2012 annual. I mentioned in the other review that anything with "horrible" in the title is bound to get kids interested immediately. This book in the series is no exception.
If you want your kids to learn the more interesting side of history, the side that isn't just a boring list of dates but the actual interesting side of history, then I think this 2012 Annual is great. (Given I majored in Social History at university I think I'm fully entitled to be allowed to call the list of dates boring!)
I love how this annual brings history to life with cartoons, quizzes and even games for kids to play. It covers right through the Classical periods (one of my personal favourites) to Victorian England and everything in between. It is filled with bloody battles, ghastly fights and ridiculous laws - did you know sending kids to school was once considered a punishment?
As with with other "Horrible' title, even reading this as an adult- and one who has studied at one point or another - much of what was written I found it really interesting. I loved that this can be easily picked up and browsed through and that was something I loved doing as a kid.
While my two are a little young for this yet, I'm sure it's going to be popular later on and I can see it being a great learning tool when they start learning about history at school.
Thumbs up from here!
I have already mentioned that I have a soft spot for Annuals in another review. They were my school holiday activity schedule over Christmases when I was a child. Horrible Histories really appealed to me because I have always been a bit of a history buff. And let's face it, in the past things weren't always rosy!
I really liked the bright cover art for this Annual. Lots of striking yellow and red mixed with historical figures. Though I was a bit stumped by the rat puppet, because it didn't seem to fit the style of the rest of the illustrations. He was pretty cute though.
Inside the book, the pages were colourful, but muted in more natural tones. The illustrations were really well done, and I liked the comic strip style of some pages, and the layout of most of the information. Some of the pages seemed overly wordy for a kid's book, but when you read the information it's already very condensed. I guess it's a balance of trying to get concepts across as easy to read as possible. I did find the sections a fairly easy read and even fun because of the way the facts followed on from each other.
Inside there were some board games (bring your own dice), fun quizzes, and riddles. The book is quite obviously English because of the content, especially talking about school dinners, or ITV and BBC when discussing TV in the 1950s. But most of the information in the pages is still relevant and interesting.
I enjoyed the pages about Rock n Roll, TV in the 50s and the industrial schools for children in the 1800s. Obviously this book is called Horrible Histories for good reason, so a lot of the facts are pretty horrible. There is a lot about crime and punishment, torture, war and witch hunts. Some of the focus is on gross stuff, what things were made of, what food was like, and what diseases were going around.
My daughter was much less interested in this book, but she is more a science girl than history. I really think kids aged 8 - 12 would probably enjoy reading this. Especially if they have an interest in how our world was long ago and how things have evolved to our present day. Another excellent Christmas gift for a kid who likes to read, is fascinated with gross and horrible things or is a fan of the book series already.
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