So in today’s blog I am continuing my look at archaeology books aimed at children. As some of you may have seen in my “Things are happening” blog post, one of my aims for this year is to write my very own children’s archaeology book, with the help of a friendly illustrator of course (for all of you who have seen my “Archie’s Adventures in Archaeology” comics know I definitely cannot draw).
Anyway, we are getting a little off topic. Back to the book! I have to say that I was drawn to this book because I love Infographics, and it is something I definitely want to incorporate into my own book (another shameless plug). Infographics are a great way of getting information across to children, they are bright, colourful and engaging and present just the fundamental points you wan to get across, at least that is the idea. For anyone who is not comfortable with what an infrographic is:
“Infographics (a clipped compound of “information” and “graphics”) are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly” – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infographic.
So does this book do that? Does it do it well for children? Short answer Yes! Long answer yes, but… Do no not get me wrong, I do really like this book, but it does have its issues. Let’s start off with the price, with a cover price of £12.99 and a book length of 32 pages, it is a little expensive, about £0.41 per page. However, the book is beautifully made. Just at it!
Stone Age Buildings
Stonehenge(Sorry about the poor quality, I have misplace my good camera…).
I just love the bright style and layout of this book!
Ok, so what about the content? Ok so the first thing that I was a little bit unsure of when it comes to the content is the contents. The contents page to be exact. Now in the image above you may have noticed that it decides to list the section on the Ice Age after the Neolithic… And I know what you will say “Technically we are still in an Ice Age” and to that I would say Ssssh! No one likes a pedant. I would also say that is referring to the periods off repeated Ice Sheet advance and retreat, particularly the period of the last Glacial maximum around 18,000 years ago to the retreat of the Ice Sheets and the end of the ‘Ice Age’ around 12,000 years ago. Now, back to my main point, this period is before the Neolithic, but is placed after it in the book? For me that just seems like a weird choice, and could potentially cause confusion.
I would also like to draw your attention to the following image.
Now I do have a small issue with this, and that is the evidence to support this is very minor and is hotly disputed in academic and professional circles. There is a big however, is that necessarily wrong to put in a children’s book? Of course not, I think that it is a great idea but present it in that way. That we are still unsure, and this is a best guess based on a small amount of evidence. After all, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence! People must of been sheltering somewhere, and this currently the idea we think is most accurate.
There does seem to be a tendancy to avoid difficult topics in children’s publications, a tedendency to dumb things down too much. Of course we do need to consider how we present information to children to try and make it accessible, but sometimes I think we take it too far and do not give them enough credit. If you want proof check out my video on my YouTube Channel Noah Explains It All – Stonehenge, this seven year old has a much better understanding of Stonehenge than most adults I know.
So, to wrap things up. I think this is a great book, it is attractive, well layed out, accessible and fun. It engages it’s reader, has a great glossary and a section on useful links for further research. It is a little pricey though. It would great for any child study g the prehistoric period at school and would also make a good teachers guide. It would also make just a good reference book for anyone who is not too sure on the period.
I also did a video review of this book for my YouTube channel that you can find here https://youtu.be/5FcO7wcKKsM
I would just like to make it clear that I did receive any financial incentive to review this book, I did mainly for research into my own book.
Thank you for reading :).