Friday, 5 November 2010

Horrible Histories: Angry Aztecs and Incredible Incas by Terry Deary, Martin Brown & Philip Reeve

2009, Scholastic
288 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Non-fiction, Children's,

Lots of facts about Aztecs and Incas, some quizzes too.

Summary from Scholastic
In Angry Aztecs you will encounter the Mayan mysteries, cunning Conquistadors and people whose idea of fun was ripping out human hearts. The Incredible Incas gives all the gory details about the incredible empire which ruled 12 million people but was smashed by 260 Spanish invaders ... and a few germs!

Nayuleska's thoughts
I love this series! I grew up with it when I was at school. I'd laugh at the illustrations, and eagerly turn the pages upside down to see whether the questions were true or false. The covers have had a make over since I last read them, and there are lots of books in the series (as well as books in other Horrible subjects). Not that history is horrible. It can be a bit complicated with the dates and different names (some of the spellings for the Aztecs and Incans would be problematic if you have to learn them for a test). This omnibus provided several fun filled hours for me. Each book follows roughly the same format: there's an introduction to history in general, a timeline of the era, then various facts about the era including what life was like for both boys and girls, rich and poor.

What was pleasantly surprising was how different the introductions were (they are not the same! I checked and they are very different), and how the timeline is laid out is different too. What both have in common is the sheer hilarity of the writing. Terry definitely has a way with words - children will want to remember the facts because they are interesting. Martin and Philip's illustrations bring it all to life. It isn't for the faint hearted, some of the facts made me feel a bit queasy. There are true/false quizzes throughout the books, and also a larger quiz at the end which tests the reader's knowledge and understanding of what they've read. Hopefully this will then encourage the reader to go and read other (probably less interesting) books on the subject, because they've got this one for fun.

Final conclusion:
Aztecs were fond of sacrificing people, the Inca's fought a lot and had a thing for guinea pigs.

Check out another Horrible Histories book: Nasty Knights

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