Gr 6–10 In this series, interesting and historically significant structures are detailed, described, and placed in an appealing and well-explained historical context. Each book is organized chronologically, with a strong focus on historical facts, cultural significance, and any controversy or challenge that surrounds the structures. The books feature vocabulary boxes for challenging words, strong color pictures and diagrams, as well as boxes throughout with additional detail and primary source material. These books would appeal to students interested in archeology and architecture, and could provide strong extension materials for teachers looking to supplement a history text. Bibliography. Websites. Index.
—Sarah Applegate, NBCT Teacher Librarian, River Ridge High School, Lacey, Washington
Gr 6–8 Each of these slender volumes introduces a recognizable structure, explaining its social and historical context and why it is remarkable for its architecture and its impact on its society. The texts follow a logical progression from plans to build, through the building process, to ample description of how each one was used in its time and then to the destruction and current plans for restoration. Photographs, images, and drawings, some of which serve to explain the occasionally difficult vocabulary, appear throughout. Medieval Castle traces the development of castles from wooden buildings to massive stone constructions that served as fortresses, social centers, and living quarters for noblemen. The Parthenon is described as "the most perfect structure ever erected," and the genius of its design, which has been copied for centuries, is being closely studied as restoration continues. The Colosseum was once the site of extravagant performances and some of the bloodiest exhibitions ever staged. Although these volumes are fact-filled and would provide ample information for reports, they read like stories, with historical and anectodotal passages that add interest to the technical and historical data. Despite their challenging content, these titles will interest readers of history and fans of art and architecture.
—MaryAnn Karre, West Middle School, Binghamton, NY