What’s this you say? A book review?
Yes. My pile of read books waiting for reviews is getting a little high so I figured I might as well sit down, re-read one or two and write at least one review.
Horrible Histories. The 20-year-old book series that leaves the horrible parts in and has spawned a BAFTA winning TV series. This book is one of the specials that looks at revolutions from ancient times right up to 1999. From Rotten Romans to Bolshy Bolsheviks, this book looks at peasant revolts, the French revolutionaries with their guillotine, the English civil war and the Americans who first fought the British then themselves. History certainly isn’t boring!
This book is as brilliant as the others in the series. Filled with all the usual historical jokes and teacher jokes, it makes learning about history fun and lets children (and adults!) learn about periods of history that are not on the National Curriculum or exam board specifications. It provides a thorough overview of the different revolutions, dates and offers definitions of what counts as a revolution and what counts as a rebellion. The illustrations are by Martin Brown, who has illustrated the earlier books and been involved in the TV series.
The book also looks at the things that are not or rarely talked about even if the revolution in question is on the school curriculum: slogans, songs and the batty real names of revolutionary leaders! Fun little facts that kids would love to know and test their teachers with!
Sadly, the book is not flawless as I have two negatives I have to mention. The first is about the question and answer parts of the book. Quizzes are regular occurrences in the series and this one is no different but I couldn’t help feeling they came a little too often so causing the reader to have to be flicking back and forth in the book more often than maybe is necessary.
The second is when Terry Deary writes mock reports about events from the points of views of the people involved. One of them to me confused me as he seemed to jump back and forth in events and it did not seem structured. The report in question made the POV character seem like an imbecile which seems rather harsh to me.
The book is brilliantly written, offers the usual quizzes and bad puns whilst offering the information required. Children will really enjoy it and it will certainly supplement their school learning, like all Horrible History books.