Book Review: How to be Series

Reading Level

Ages 9-12

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More from National Geographic in the How to Be series, including the first entry written officially for girls.

The illustrations (which are by a different person in each book) handily illustrate what the author is describing and make it fun to learn more about these ancient or more modern practices. Weapons, royalty, and customs are described, of course.

Nice specific touches are included in each book as well:

  • How to Be an Egyptian Princess is a blueprint for becoming the sort of royalty that the Egyptian culture had. The amount of trivia in this book is amazing. Younger readers might know a good deal about Egypt and the Pyramids and King Tut and such; but this book fills in a huge amount of gaps, especially the likely very wide one that is what most people know about the roles that women played in Ancient Egypt. (Hatshepsut, the first female pharaoh, is included, of course.)
  • How to Be an Ancient Greek Athlete is an awesome book, full of fun and fiercely attractively details on the games that the ancient Greeks played. It's not just the Olympics. Games took place often and in various cities. Sports included more than just those featured in the Olympic Games, including horse racing, in the hippodrome. How to train, how to compete, and how to win are all included, as are how to dedicate your victory to the featured god of the festival. The included layout of Olympia is astounding in its detail as well.
  • How to Be a Revolutionary War Soldier includes some fascinating details, including the fact that the money that these poor soldiers kept them poor—In other words, it was worth next to nothing. And the sparseness of food, clothing, and equipment is highlighted as well. Soldiers went through military training but also learned how to build forts and other defensive structures. Many died of disease, not of battle injuries. War isn't all glamor, indeed!

These are excellent books. They are fun to read, and the illustrations are fun to look at. The amount of detail included is staggering, yet all are presented as fun and easy to read.

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