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The three we reviewed were If You Were Me and Lived on…Mars, If You Were Me and Lived in…Elizabethan England, and If You Were Me and Lived in…the American West. These are all part of her Historical Series, for ages 8-15.
Often called the Red Planet, Mars is the fourth planet in our solar system. This book gives a glimpse of what it might be like to live on Mars. It offers descriptions of the planet and its orbit around the sun from the perspective of a 10-year old. The book also mentions a Mars Living Module, which would be where you would have to live if you were on Mars. What type of food would you eat? How hot and cold does it get? How many moons are there? These and many other questions are answered in this book. Also, the book contains a glossary of terms. It is 43 pages long and is illustrated by Mateya Arkova.
What if you lived during the time of Queen Elizabeth I? That is what this book will tell you. She reigned over England from 1558 until 1603. This time is often called the Elizabethan Era. This book discusses what life would have been like during this time if you were a girl living in London. It tells you what kind of clothes you and your family probably would have worn, the types of jobs you were likely to have, and the type of house you might have lived in.
Also, it tells you about the kinds of food you would have eaten depending on if you were poor or if you were nobility. You will find out about acting and the stage. Finally, it includes a 2-page spread of famous people of the era that you should know, as well as a glossary of terms. It is 50 pages long and is illustrated by Paula Tabor.
The American West, the great frontier. We’ve heard of the Oregon Trail, but what was it like to travel it? This book fills you in on what it might have been like moving across the country in 1843 from the perspective of a 12-year old boy. What was it like to go in a covered wagon? What could you take with you? How long was the journey? This book answers these questions as well as others. It also tells you what types of food and animals you would be able to take with you, what kinds of clothing you might wear, and the chores you might be assigned.
You will encounter Indians, prairies, mountains, and sickness. And once you made it? What would you do? This book describes the type of land, what type of house you might build, and what you and your family would do to settle into your new life. Also, this book contains a 2-page spread of famous people from the American West, as well as a glossary of terms. It is 54 pages long and is illustrated by Paula Tabor.
All three children’s books are beautifully illustrated. Each of the books is informative and gives you an idea of what it would be like to be living in that time. The books were very descriptive and well thought out. The font was easy to read, and a glossary of terms with a pronunciation guide was included at the end of each one. Also, these books could be used as read alouds for younger children.
I don’t think that the 8-15 age group was accurate. I have a 16-year-old and two 14-year-olds, and they thought these were kid books. It took them about 5 minutes per book to read. Although the content was good, it would not have been something they would have picked at their ages. There were a few typographical errors, and the pronunciation guides were not always accurate. This could be hard for a child that is just learning how to read. Also, some of the illustrations didn’t really fit with what was being discussed on the page.
All in all, I think these were great children’s books. They would work well for younger readers, either as read alouds or as independent reading books. I wish these books had been around when my boys were younger; they would have really enjoyed them then.
Carole P. Roman has many other books in her Historical Series but has other series as well. If you have young children, you will definitely want to go check out her many different children’s books. A few you might find interesting:
Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life (this is the first in a complete series about Captain No Beard)