Blurb: A colourful and comical tour through history from cartoonists Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley.
The hilarious minds behind A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You have teamed up once again – this time to give a taste of the daily lives of the people, animals and objects who made history.
Featuring a day in the life of early humans as they paint mammoths on the walls of a cave, a fierce gladiator battling in the Colosseum and the first woman in space. And not forgetting the animals of history – from an Egyptian cat (worshipped as a god, of course) to an albatross flying over Rapa Nui and a dog in the trenches of the First World War.
Readers can also discover the stories behind famous constructions, including the Great Wall of China and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and delve into the secret diaries of a Viking, Isaac Newton’s cat and the wooden panel that became the Mona Lisa.
With over 90 entries told in the friendly, informative style of Mike Barfield and brought to life by Jess Bradley’s brilliantly funny illustrations, this book will have children learning and laughing as they go.
In comic book style, with bright pictures and dialogue bubbles, this history book is perfect for kids to learn without even realising that their entertainment is educational!
The ‘day in the life of’ hook is a clever one that isn’t only restricted to people (a caveman, a queen, an astronomer) but also features animals, plants and inanimate objects (an Egyptian cat, a dead sheep, a tulip, a bacteria, a wheel, a flask of soup, the letter ‘v’). We all loved the clever way that certain items were used to illustrate big moment in history for a different and interesting historical perspective, for example, ‘A night in the life of a star’ leads to information about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
The information is organised chronologically, rather than geographically, and spans the entire globe. We found it quite exciting to leap about from Russia to China, to Italy and back again within the space of a few ‘days’ and the map at the front of the book proved an invaluable resource for placing ourselves as we travelled about.
The book starts with homo erectus and the neanderthals in Ancient History, and wends its way through the Middle Ages and Modern Times, to end with smart phones, carbon atoms and a glimpse into the future. Finally, there is a handy glossary of terms at the end, for reference as you’re reading.
I was reminded somewhat of the Horrible Histories series, in terms of the fun factor and presentation, but the contents are less… well… horrible! Which suits Minishine better, as she is a bit of a delicate soul.
Minishine’s thoughts (aged 8): This book has funny pictures and funny, historical words. It tells you all about what happened in the past, but only the interesting bits. I like the parts that have animals in, because I love animals and like learning more about them. I think you should buy it if you like learning about history and all kinds of different stuff. I never knew that Catherine the Great’s real name wasn’t even Catherine at all!
Babybows’ thoughts (aged 5): I liked it when the caveman hit his thumb with the axe – that was funny! The pictures are really good, ‘cos all of their belly buttons are crosses. I want to know more about how Calico Jack got captured, so me and Mummy are going to look it up. I want to look up all the cool fighty-fighty stuff!
Every school needs a load of copies of this book – they are ideal for school project resources, or just for some entertaining private reading for 8+ year olds. Home educators – or youngsters who just have a general interest in history and the world around us – will find it invaluable too!
If you’ve ever wanted to know how the first wheel was invented, what life was like for a house in Pompeii and what a Galápagos tortoise thought of Charles Darwin, then look no further.– Mike Barfield & Jess Bradley
About Mike Barfield
Mike Barfield is a writer, cartoonist, poet and performer, who lives in a small village in North Yorkshire, England. A typical day in his life consists of sitting at a desk in a very untidy room surrounded by hundreds of books, while he writes and draws things that he hopes will make people laugh. He drinks gallons of tea while he does so.
About Jess Bradley
Jess is an illustrator and comic artist from Torquay, England. As well as writing and drawing for The Phoenix, she also writes for The Beano and illustrates a variety of children’s books. During her day, she enjoys painting in her sketchbooks, watching scary films and letting her son beat her at Mario Kart.
A Day in the Life of a Caveman, a Queen and Everything In Between is available on Amazon right now!
Don’t forget to check out the other blog stops on the tour for more great reviews and content (see the poster below for details)!