Since this lavishly produced book is published in conjunction with the National Trust, it reaches a certain high standard, and is evidently going to be sold in NT shops as well as bookshops. It invites children to look at the houses and clothes of people in seven eras: Late Middle Ages, Tudor, Georgian, Victorian, 1920s, 1960s and present day. Laser- cut windows enable to the reader to look backwards and forwards through the holes, as double -page spreads show all the rooms in the houses, and what they are used for, and there is even a ‘door’ in the cover. There are items to spot which are used in more than one house, and there is information about how people lived and their families. The people in a family are named, with a little snippet about each to help children to relate to them e.g. Jack has just learnt to walk, and Lucy has a lovely little puppy. Mostly, the houses are large and evidently lived in by relatively rich people: generally there is little evidence of the working class except in the Late Middle Ages, where some (very clean) peasants are working in the fields, but the exception is the 60s, where various people are shown living in contemporary flats and the clothing becomes more everyday, though hippies are in there, too. Much had been made of the comfort, or otherwise, of the clothes people in previous periods of history had worn, until the Twenties, when clothing became more practical. We return to affluence in the Present Day house, an interestingly designed modern house with a large garden where there is plenty of space for the children bouncing on a trampoline.
Sarah Gibb has included a lot of detail in her illustrations, and it is fun to look out for the items used more than once. This is a large book to pore over and enjoy, with glossy pages and very accessible history.