Book Review: Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Reading Level

Ages 4-8

Also on This Subject

• The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World
• Ancient Civilizations

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Mary Hoffman and the folks at Frances Lincoln have given us another wonderful book, this one called Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. What you see is what you get here, with a subtle and rewarding twist: The illustrations of the Seven Wonders are based on the latest historical research and might look slightly different to students of artwork of the period.

The main characters are Philip, a youngster, and Callimachus, librarian of the Great Library of Alexandria. The former is a creation; the latter is a historical embellishment. Both are compelling characters, such as they are, as guides to the Ancient Wonders.

This book serves as an excellent introduction to the story of the Seven Wonders, including a map of their locations and some hard data about their construction. The illustrations, by M.P. Robertson, are his typical lifelike artwork, giving the impression of a still life, a moment caught in time. And it is these drawings that are really the focal point of the book.

The Seven Wonders have always been about seeing, gasping at the wonder of it all. The Great Pyramid is still with us, but the other Wonders are gone, victims of earthquakes, battles, and the sands of time. Those Ancient Wonders come back alive in this book, backed by up-to-date historical parameters. The result is a pleasant first telling or revisitation to a great story, one of the most compelling elements of ancient history. The book also serves as a handbook for studying all of the Wonders at once, unlike many historical texts, which tend to focus on one or two in different places. The result is first-rate.

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