Friday 14 July 2017

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book(s) of the Week - Week Ending 14th July 2017 - "Saxon Tales" by Terry Deary and Tambe (A & C Black)

Our Chapter Books of the week are a selection of new history titles from someone who has arguably done more to get kids involved with and engaged with historical subjects than any other author...
"Horrible Histories" both as a book series and a TV series has been something Charlotte's become more and more interested in as she gets older and as school starts to tackle more interesting historical subjects.

Though she's always more interested in particular periods of history (notably Tudor / Victorian times at the moment with a smattering of Ancient Egypt) she really shows an interest in other eras too.

So it was quite cool to delve into a new selection of books Terry has written that are based on Saxon stories.

Fictionalised reworkings of actual tales with some historical basis are the order of the day here and the four books cover a fairly wide range of subjects.

Without a doubt, "The Witch Who Faced the Fire" was Charlotte's favourite, the story of a young girl orphaned at an early age who is taken on by a kindly old man who could be described as an alchemist. He teaches her to read and write, but she also shows a keen interest in more than purely academic subjects - in fact she starts to gain a rather alarming reputation as a witch!

Of course, in Saxon times Witches weren't always condemned or burned at the stake, but were often seen as the healers of their day - so villagers would flock to them for all manner of weird cure-alls.

Charlotte loved Ardith's braininess and cunning as she starts to take over from Wilfred as he becomes older and more frail. Ardith soon learns that there's more to cures than just bashing a few herbs together in a pestle - in fact being a keen psychologist can help more in some cases.

Fascinating stuff, really nicely written with tons of real life facts and evidence to support the origins of the story itself.

We also took a look at the other books in the series...

...a great selection of tales that also dip into documentary evidence of actual real-life incidents woven into Saxon history (we also really enjoyed "The Shepherd who Ate his Sheep" which touched on how Saxon Law - quite harsh and brutal - led to a repeal of laws that would see even children led to the gallows if suspected of theft! Eeeks!)

These are fab little books, that aren't over-long, skilfully illustrated throughout by Tambe and presented in a highly collectable paperback format.

Start your own history collection today!

Charlotte's favourite bit: Learning all about the first placebos - impressive sounding medicines and witchy cures that were usually made from harmless ingredients.

Daddy's favourite bit: A thoroughly interesting and engaging series very much in the spirit of Horrible Histories. Awesome stuff.

(Kindly supplied for review)

"Saxon Tales" by Terry Deary and Tambe are out now, published by A & C Black.