Reviewed by Diane Wilkinson
My 9-year-old daughter was very excited to receive our copy of “Anglo-Saxons” which is part of the Ladybird Histories series. She has been studying the Anglo-Saxons at school and was keen to show me what she already knew, as well as finding out some new information.
The book is divided into short, easy to follow double-page sections covering everything from the time immediately before the Anglo-Saxon invasions to what happened after, and including the legacy of the period in terms of how it impacts on our life today. I must admit that I learned a few things that I hadn’t previously been aware of such as that the Lord of the Rings was inspired by the Anglo-Saxon poem “Beowulf”.
Like most non-fiction information texts, the book doesn’t have to be read from start to finish. The easy-to-follow contents page allows you to choose which aspect of the period you want to know more about and go straight to it. My daughter was particularly interested in the village life and farming sections having recently visited a local replica of one during a school trip. The well-drawn and detailed illustrations bring the clear text to life and give plenty of scope for discussion and even further artwork. I like the way the chapter and paragraph headings are written in an Anglo-Saxon script, as are the captions to some of the illustrations.
With a useful timeline and glossary at the back, the book is a comprehensive introduction to this period of history for children aged between 7 and 11. As a primary school teacher myself, I can see it proving to be a great addition the resources for Key Stage 2 history lessons, as well as a useful tool for helping with homework projects. Its size is slightly smaller than A4, and it has a sturdy, glossy softback cover with fairly thick pages making it perfect for repeated use over time. I would certainly look at purchasing others in the series when my daughter is studying the different periods of history they cover, as well as for classroom use.
With a cover price of £7.99, the book represents fair value for money, particularly for parents with several children who will use it many times or, as previously mentioned, for teachers who will be covering this topic in class.
Available to buy from Amazon here.