CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 6. . . .October 9, 2015
Hard as Nails Warriors. (Hard as Nails in History Series).
Tracey Turner. Illustrated by Jamie Lenman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $23.96 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1517-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1518-4 (RLB).
Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.
Review by Ian Stewart.
This book describes some of the toughest warriors of all time, from conquering medieval kings to brilliant Roman generals. Some of them were brave, some were ruthless, and others were wickedly clever. But they were all as hard as nails…
If you’ve ever wanted to ride a war elephant or fire a trebuchet, read on. Follow the warriors through a freezing Russian winter, across the Rubicon river, and into tough mountains of Mexico.
As well as discovering stories of courage and cunning, you might be in for a few surprises. Did you know for example, that the Ming dynasty was started by a starving peasant? Or that Cyrus the Great commanded soldiers mounted on dromedary camels?
You're about to meet some of the toughest warriors in history...
Hard as Nails Warriors is an engaging little book that introduces students to the lives, conquests and accomplishments of some of history’s greatest warrior kings, princes, princesses, war-lords, conquerors, villains and heroes. Students may have heard of the most famous: Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc and Geronimo. However, the majority will be new to them. It is also interesting to note that 10 of the 23 people that readers learn about in Hard as Nails Warriors are women.
Each warrior has a two page synopsis of her/his life, enemies and accomplishments. The uniquely named Hardometer rates each of the characters according to their Cunning, Courage, Survival Skills and Ruthlessness. From these ratings, their Hard As Nails score is assessed. For example the ancient British warrior Queen Boudica (circa 61 CE) and the French heroine Joan of Arc (circa 1400) have ratings only in the sevens because their cunning, survival and ruthlessness numbers are low. Don’t lose battles to the Romans if you want a high score, and, as well, don’t get burned at the stake by the British if you want a high score.
However, the ruthless conquer Timur (circa 1390 CE) rates a 9.3 because three scores are nines, and he has a perfect 10 on the Ruthlessness scale. Not to let the girl’s side down, the central Asian warrior Queen Tomyris (circa 530 BCE) also rates a 9.3 because she battled it out with the Persian King Cyrus the Great and, after beating him, kept his skull as a drinking cup. Way to go girl, impressive. Needless to say, it’s all in good fun and not scientific at all.
Readers will also learn interesting facts about the world’s worst wars; they can choose their hard as nails weapon of choice: bow and arrow, Samurai sword, Greek fire or even a trebuchet; play a war board game (looks like fun) and solve a warrior quiz. There is also a “Hard As Nails Warrior Timeline”, which is helpful as not all the selections have the dates included. The Glossary is adequate for the material covered, and the Index is very good.
Ian Stewart reaches at Cecil Rhodes School in Winnipeg, MB.
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