Book Title: Epic Tales of Triumph and Adventure (available here)
Author: Simon Cheshire
Illustrator: Fatti Burke
Publication Date: September 2019
Most Suitable For: KS2
Reviewed by: Anna Sterling (@ASterling98), Class Teacher
This bright and appealing book provides a fresh look at extraordinary people. It features figures from across the world, from recent times to the distant past, who have been compelled to undertake some sort of adventure or challenge. These undertakings can also be considered achievements, as many of the stories are ‘firsts’, or tales of unsung heroes, feats of endurance or feats against all odds. Take Mary Bowser, who worked as a spy for anti-slavery forces during the American Civil War, or Annie Edson Taylor, a teacher who wanted to make money by throwing herself over the Niagra Falls in a barrel, or Anne Bonny and Mary Read, pirates who were considered every bit as fearsome and cut-throat as their male counterparts.
The real strength of the book is that it features some well-known names amongst many obscure names, from around the world, from different ethnicities: every time you turn the page you find the next unexpected story.
Each story is told over a double spread page, clearly paragraphed and very readable –the use of vocabulary may suit the upper key stage 2 children best but there is plenty to grab the younger reader too; simple but colorful illustrations and stories that will entice the child to ask many questions.
Themes of interest include PSHE elements such determination and resilience and the environment; history aspects such as exploration and invasion, and geography elements such as different lands and cultures. I expect it may challenge some readers to move beyond gender or cultural stereotypes about which types of people are capable of, or compelled to lead, extraordinary lives.
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Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Anna for reviewing it.
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