Book Review: History Dudes Vikings & Ancient Egyptians
By Laura Buller, Illustrated by Rich Cando
DK Publishing, 2007
I had the pleasure of receiving two books to review: History Dudes Vikings & Ancient Egyptians. I asked for these because two of my children are school age (6 and 8) and I thought they would be perfect to read after homework or just to enjoy together on the weekends. When the package arrived, I tore it open and eagerly looked through them. I love children’s books and these are on subjects I’m very interested in.
History Dudes Vikings & Ancient Egyptians are books that are filled with fun pictures and text. These books help make history more fun and exciting, instead of the usual droll history books (come on, to a kid normal history books can be very boring). There are lots of little history tibets, and even mock interviews with people who held certain duties back in those days (Construction Crews, Imhotep, Temple Priest, At the Wigmaker’s in Ancient Egyptians. Bjorn the Berserk, Mealtime, Rune Master, Harald Bluetooth in Vikings). You’ll also find out what the fashions were for men and women with an explanation of their attire and much more.
The illustrations by Rich Cando are what really make the past come alive. The illustrations for books such as these could have been handled in any number of ways but Mr. Cando seems to have a knack for knowing what kids would enjoy looking at. After my 8 year old had read several pages, he asked “Can I be done reading and just look at it?” The pictures really captivated him and he looked through the entire book, reading bits here and there, but overall looking at the pictures in depth. He was impressed to see a picture of a Viking board game called Hnefatafl because it looked just like a chess set (to which it was compared to and something he is interested in).
While my 8 year old read the book, he came across a mild “bad” word (starts with h, ends with l) and said “Mom. There’s a bad word, can I say it?” The text he was referring to was “This is h*ll on my hooves.” For the parents that are concerned with cursing, there are only a couple of references like this one.
My overall opinion is that the illustrations can be enjoyed by young AND older children (and adults too!). However the text is geared more towards kids that are a little older. The reading level on these books is 9-12 years old. Both of my kids are advanced readers for their age and they did struggle a little on a few words but they both adored the pictures. Both girls and boys can enjoy History Dudes but I think that boys would enjoy the Viking book more then girls. There are pictures of Viking fights that my kids got quite excited about. My 6 year old thought a picture of a Viking with an arrow sticking out of his eye was funny but don’t ket that alarm you. The books are not gory, the illustrations are comical and cute (though my boys would use the word awesome and not cute). Another thing that I really liked about the books is that the covers are very sturdy. A lot of children’s books that we come across, the hardcover’s are rather flimsy but the covers for History Dudes are thick with rounded corners and can probably handle a lot of wear.