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Author: Cathy Diez-Luckie

Illustrator: Cathy Diez-Luckie

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Publisher: Figures in Motion,

Material: paperback

Summary: Readers can select from among the group of 19 men and an elephant (Hannibal’s elephant), to create puppets of historic figures. You’ll find emperors, conquerors, and philosophers. These are the great men of Ancient Egypt, Greece, China, Rome, and Jerusalem. There is a two-paragraph biography on each person at the front of the book, followed by two pages of the character the reader needs to build. Essentially, this is a book of paper dolls.

Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, interactive reading

Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 7 to 10

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: I love the idea of creating puppets of historical figures and allowing the kids to role play as a learning process. Diez-Luckie has done a fabulous job with the front material, clearly explaining what the book has to offer each audience (children, adults, muesums, and historical re-enactors). She covered the globe (ancient as it was), but also how she balanced disciplines (philosophers and conquerors) and fame (Alexander the Great and a Greek Hoplite).

Pros: This is a creative book that offers a way to reinforce learning in a meaningful way. I would definitely recommend it, even for home use. It is a great way for you to play with your kids and learn together.

Cons: There is very little background information on the characters. One reviewer calls is a "supplemental activity book," yet it would be ideal for an audience that has not yet learned ancient history (i.e., elementary students).

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This isn’t a book that you’re likely going to find in your local library because the pages are perforated. If you know kids who learn best with hands-on activities, this is a must have.

If You Liked This Book, Try: SEE INSIDE ANCIENT ROME (Usborne Flap Book)   THE SECRET OF THE SACRED SCARAB   BECOMING CHARLEMAGNE; Europe, Baghdad, and the Empires of A.D. 800

Educational Themes: Once the figure is assembled, kids can “play out the real stories of history or make up their own and travel through time.” There is a set of pre-colored pieces for those who aren’t artistic; and a set of coloring book-styled pieces for those who want to create originals. Cut the pieces out and connect them with mini-brads, fasteners, or 1/8-inch eyelets. The pages are cardstock quality paper, allowing for more hands-on activity.

Notes: The publicist representing the author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub®. This is an unsolicited donation.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, history, interactive learning, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2009

Other Reviews:


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