Pompeii: Unearthing Ancient Worlds by Liz Sonneborn
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Library Binding: 80 pages
Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books (CT) (December 15, 2007)
Source: Review copy from publisher
This week's nonfiction selection is part of the new "Unearthing Ancient Worlds" series.
In 79 A.D. Mt. Vesuvius erupted destroying three cities in the Ancient Roman Empire: Naples, Herculaneum, and the most famous of the three, Pompeii.
In 1738, a farmer was digging a well near the town of Resina and dug up marble objects from the ground. Charles of Bourbon, the son of the king of Spain, heard of these finds and sent a member of his army, Joachin de Alcubierre to Resina to find out more about these objects. Pompeii: Unearthing Ancient Worlds details Alcubierre's discovery and excavation of Herculaneum and later of Pompeii.
Through full-color photographs and a detailed and engaging narrative, the book describes many of the treasures that were found as well as the things that went wrong with the excavation under Alcubierre's command. His lack of knowledge of proper excavation techniques, unfamiliarity with art, and desire to win favor with the king resulted in a rushed job, hazardous working conditions, and overlooked artifacts. After decades of backbreaking work and various setbacks, Alcubierre and his crew managed to unearth an abundance of priceless artifacts.
Readers can see many of the treasures that were unearthed, including beautiful frescoes, marble statues, mosaic floors, paved streets, and public fountains. Maps, a time line, a pronunciation guide, a glossary, and a "Who's Who" section in the back of the book add to the richness of the narrative and give readers a wealth of information about these ancient cities buried under the ash. There's even a list of books and online resources where readers can go to find more information.
This would make an excellent resource for lessons about Ancient Rome, archeology, Pompeii, art, volcanic eruptions, and more. Kids who are interested in any of these subjects will find the content easily digestible and the photos and illustrations interesting.
I'm eager to read the other books in the series:
Emperor Qin's Terra Cotta Army by Michael Capek
From the publisher: "A dead emperor guarded by his army for 2,000 years… One day in 1974, a group of farmers in rural China found a life-size clay statue of a man’s head buried deep in a field. When government archaeologists inspected the area, they discovered that beneath the ground were more than eight thousand life-size clay soldiers, each one with a unique face. In nearby chambers, they unearthed clay horses, carefully preserved swords, bronze statues, and other astonishing things." (Read more...)
Palenque by Deborah Kops
From the publisher: "Mysterious ancient ruins, hidden deep in the jungle of southern Mexico… In May 1840, explorers John Stephens and Frederick Catherwood road their mules along a steep, muddy jungle path. They were hoping to find the ruins of an ancient, deserted site in Mexico they knew only from visitors’ accounts. Through the trees, they spied the remains of a crumbling stone palace. Palenque!" (read more...)
The Tomb of King Tutankhamen by Michael Woods and Mary B. Woods
From the publisher: "A royal treasure buried for 3,000 years … On November 4, 1922, a British archaeologist named Howard Carter unearthed a buried staircase in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. At the bottom of the staircase was a door bearing the name Tutankhamen..." (read more...)
What Other Bloggers are Saying:
A Patchwork of Books: (on the series) "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." (read more...)
If you've reviewed any books in the Unearthing Ancient Worlds Series, leave a comment with the link, and I'll post it here.