________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 35. . . .May 13, 2016


Gladiators. (Crabtree Chrome).

Natalie Hyde.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2016.
48 pp., pbk., hc., & html, $11.95 (pbk.),$26.95 (List RLB), $21.56 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2227-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-2288-5 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271-8086-5 (html).

Subject Heading:
Gladiators-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

**** /4



Gladiators came from many different parts of society. Where they came from determined the type of battle they would fight. Serious criminals were the lowest group. This included people who had committed murder and arson. They often had to fight men or wild animals without weapons. They were not expected to live.

Slaves who had committed crimes were sent to gladiator schools as punishment. They joined prisoners of war to be trained as warriors. Some free men volunteered to be gladiators. They often had the best weapons and armor. They also fought the weakest challengers, so they had a good chance of winning.


Gladiators begins with commentary from a battle fought by a real-life gladiator named Flamma. Vocabulary such as trident and secutor (chaser) add authenticity to the re-telling. The artwork is a collage of historical paintings and people in costume. The background scenes are in arenas surrounded by crowds of people. There are reasons the gladiators fought, and those reasons are discussed (fame, punishment, dying with honor, entertainment) as is the gladiators’ connection to slavery and schools. There are pages which focus on weaponry, rules, armor, and the people who controlled and trained the fighters. The training was intense, even among females, who included slaves and wealthy women. The colour photographs of stone carvings and remains of gladiator schools, training grounds, and amphitheaters are fascinating. They add authenticity to the text and help the reader visualize the time period. There could be good discussions about what is fair after reading the chapter on mercy and thumb signals and about how scientists are digging up gladiator graveyards to learn about these brave people. Was it a cruel sport, or did it help people in any way? It is a captivating time in history, and this book increases one’s knowledge about gladiators and their hard-fought battles. Although the author doesn’t specifically list her sources, back material includes books and websites where children can learn more information about gladiators, ancient Rome, and the Roman Colosseum, plus a glossary and index.

Highly Recommended.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

CM Home | Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue -May 13, 2016 | Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive

Updated: October 17, 2014 (hsd)