Informative and interesting looks at ancient civilizations, related in rhyme and accompanied by colorful, stylized illustrations. From the poem entitled "Mummies" in Ancient Egypt, children are told that when a pharaoh died, "they used a secret way/To keep his body from decay./They checked him out from head to toes/And pulled his brain out through his nose." They also learn that ancient Egyptian doctors treated an ill child by feeding him a skinned mouse. Elementary students thrive on facts of this kind, and these books are filled with them. Explicatory notes and pronunciations are included below each poem. For example, the selection about the African !Kung San tribe explains that when a word is spelled with an exclamation point in front of it, it is spoken with a "click." In addition to the obvious use of these books in studies of ancient times, they could be used effectively as models for nonfiction poetry. Each book lists four appropriate Web sites with activities and additional information. Good choices for supplementing studies of ancient times.
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