. . . Volume XV Number 1 . . . . August 29, 2008
The four titles which comprise the “Hands-On History” series pair mini-history lessons with related art activities. Each book has a table of contents, 13 activities suitable for home or school, a glossary, an index, and notes to parents and teachers regarding web sites for further information. The history covers the lifestyle of the featured cultural group - food, clothing, family life, education, religion, ceremonies and festivals, sports and games, transportation and homes. There are fact boxes providing additional trivia as well as lists of words derived from the culture. Following each topic is a related art activity. A list of supplies and simple step-by-step instructions with accompanying photographs are provided. Most of the projects can be made with fairly common household objects, but some require a trip to a craft or fabric store. There is also a range of age appropriateness (some activities are more juvenile than others) and difficulty, so that some projects might need parental supervision or assistance (for example, using a craft knife or dyeing fabric).
The text is easy to comprehend, and where there are names or terms that are hard to read, the pronunciation is given. Maps, photographs and drawings enhance the text along with attractive page borders along the right hand side. Activities are varied: each book has a recipe for one food or beverage, and there are instructions for making musical instruments, masks, jewellery, board games, costumes, pottery and head gear, just to name a few. For example, in Aztecs, readers will be able to make a rain god pendant, a codex and an Aztec calendar, while in Vikings they can create a chest, a helmet, a weathervane and merchant’s scales. In the Egyptians title, instructions are provided for a reed boat, papyrus paper, a water clock and a scarab armband. And in the title about the Romans, readers can make replicas of a soldier’s sandals, a gladiator shield and a Roman arch. Teachers who are looking for some great ideas to help a history unit come alive will find plenty of them in this series.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.