Tales of the Dead: Ancient Greece
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This large, richly illustrated information book is organized in familiar 'double spread' format -- each double spread dealing with one of 14 topics like 'Athens and Sparta', 'Gods and Goddesses' and 'The Theatre'. At first glance there appears to be a huge amount of pictorial and written information on quite busy pages. However it does not overwhelm for two reasons. First, the illustrations -- labelled and annotated drawings, cross sections and cartoons -- are carefully chosen to extend the written text and genuinely illuminate. So the main text on 'Athens Harbour' pinpoints its importance and a huge drawing of the harbour is surrounded by annotations explaining the different kinds of warships and buildings that fill the landscape. Second, the whole book is given added vitality and coherence by the involving story, in strip form, of the rivalry between two athletes that wends round each page of the book. It is 416 BC and Kinesias of Athens and Lykourgos of Sparta are preparing for the Olympic Games. Themes are introduced to link with the narrative. So when the story reaches the point where the characters attend the theatre, there is a fine picture and a helpful written explanation of the key features of a Greek theatre and its performances. There are a lot of books about Ancient Greece but I think this one stands up well to the competition and is good value for money.