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I received this book free from the author in exchange for my honest review.
Book Review of
If You Were Me and Lived in … Middle Ages
by Carole P. Roman
If You Were Me and Lived in … Middle Ages is a pretty awesome book. Now, I’m 28 years old (I think, I stopped making any effort to keep track a couple years ago) and I found this book very interesting. It has a whole bunch of facts that I never knew before. As I was reading it, I actually interrupted Hubby’s activities a couple times by saying “Hey, did you know …” and reading off something I had just read. Image how much a young reader would love it!
Roman puts the reader in the position of the daughter of a knight, who assisted King William I. She describes many things about day-to-day life in such a role, such as what was worn by the higher class men, women, and children (not to mention battle-wear), what was eaten by the higher and lower classes, what a knight was and how he fit into a feudal society, how important and prominent religion was, what kind of “treatments” were used on the sick, the progression a young boy would take to becoming a knight, and a rundown of the five societal classes.
Following the “story” is a description of some of the famous people of the time (Charlemagne, Saladin (An-Nasir Yusuf ibn Ayyub boy is that a mouthful of a name!), William the Conqueror, etc.) and a glossary, complete with phonetic pronunciation to make it easier for children coming across new words (such as villeins, philosopher (although, who really doesnt know that one since Harry Potter), braies, and cowl, just to name a few). Many of these words, when found in the book, were followed by their pronunciation in parentheses but this was actually one part of the book that I personally did not like. It was helpful, to be sure. Many of the words I had no idea how to pronounce. However I found it distracting to have the pronunciation right there plus I also think that it’s good for children to learn to look up the words that are new to them to find their definition and pronunciation. As soon as a child can read they should learn how to use a dictionary (or glossary)!
I really liked the illustrations too. The pictures are large and colourful. They have a soft look to them. The only thing I have to complain about is when the text was describing something specific and I tried to find it in the illustration (because I lack an imagination and I need an artist to show me what a thing looks like) but its not there! But then I thought that would be a great way to keep kids interested in the topic as well. Make a list of the things you’re reading about with them that they want to know more about and you can get more books from the library! … Or yeah, you can Google it – but books are more fun!
The book I read was call If You Were Me and Lived In … Middle Ages. Notice anything off about that title? If you answered “The!” you’re correct! Give yourself a pat on the back. I believe my copy is an older version of the one that is now available on Amazon because the link below will take you to a book about THE Middle Ages. Therefore, though it actually hurt my eyes to read this book due to all the editorial mistakes, I assume that I got a pre-edited version and the one available for purchase is perfect. If you read the one with the THE, please let me know!
If you Were me and Lived in … Middle Ages is a fun, colourful, informative, and engaging read. The illustrations are very large and beautiful and I believe this would appeal to younger children such as 3-5 year-olds. As for reading the book for themselves, I think that 8-13 year-olds would enjoy this read.
If you would like to read more reviews of this book:
Little Lady Plays did a review and actually tried the book out with a range of children.
The Parenting Patch shared the book with two young children in order to write their review.
Foreword Reviews has a professional review.
Short Book Review of
If You Were Me and Lived in … Elizabethan England
by Carole P. Roman
I also received a bonus (!) second book by Roman, If You Were Me and Lived in… Elizabethan England. This book, too, was excellent and full of facts that, once again, I never knew. For example, a possible reason for the saying “it’s raining cats and dogs”. No, I’m not going to tell you the answer! You should read the book and find out!
The Elizabethan England book also has a famous people reference and glossary at the back but thankfully (personal preference) doesn’t have any pronunciation in the “story.” The illustrations are very sharp and somehow formal-looking (they match my expectation of Elizabethan times perfectly, as a matter of fact).
This book contains far less text which makes it more enjoyable to read because you dont feel intimidated by too much unbroken text but the illustrations are slightly smaller, as well.
Both books, plus Roman’s MANY other If You Were Me and Lived in … books, can be purchased on Amazon. The images below will take you to Amazon’s description page of the corresponding book.