Monday, February 24, 2014

Western History Picture Books in 2012-2013 (Years 1301-1600)

I recently posted a review of RC History's Connecting with History Volume Three and the first of three lists of the picture books we read to go along with it (years 1070-1300). Here's the next installment, for roughly years 1301 to 1600. (The units overlap a little in Connecting with History volume 3 in order to take into account the complexities of the Reformation and the exploration of the New World in addition to following the events in Europe.)

I've noted the books that were recommended by Connecting with History.

A Medieval Feast by Aliki gives all the details you could wish on the lives of the wealthy in medieval times and the preparations involved in a great feast. The illustrations are colorful and include small bits of information in text on the life and times. This book is available from RC History.


Brother William's Year: A Monk at Westminster Abbey by Jan Pancheri tells of a year in the life of Brother William, a fictional Benedictine monk in the year 1383 at Westminster Abbey. The text is not overwhelming but there is a surprising amount of information about life in the 1300s and especially life at a Benedictine Abbey. It even includes some recipes. It's really wonderful!

Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney is an adaptation of one of Chaucer's tales by one of my favorite illustrators, so of course we love it. It is a tale particularly enjoyable if you have actually watched a rooster. This book is available from RC History.

Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky is a favorite here on the Range. The illustrations are fantastic and the fairy tale is one of the most enjoyable. This book is available from RC History.

A Boy Named Giotto by Paolo Guarnieri, pictures by Bimba Landmann, is a based on the life of the artist, Giotto. It's marvelously illustrated in a style like that of Giotto and gives a bit of background for his life.

Arthur and the Sword by Robert Sabuda is a wonderful retelling of the story of King Arthur and the sword in the stone. It's full of vibrant stained-glass style illustrations that perfectly complement the text.

Joan of Arc by Josephine Poole, illustrated by Angela Barrett, is one of my favorite picture book biographies of St. Joan of Arc. The text is a little dense for young children, so you might want to spread it over a few days, but I really like how the story is told. I also enjoy the illustrations in this version.

Leonardo and the Flying Boy by Laurence Anholt is a delightful tale based on Leonardo da Vinci's amazing talents. It's full of stories of his life and snippets from his notebooks. There is an informative page at the end with more information on da Vinci and some of the apprentice boys in his workshop. This book is available at RC History.


Chee-Lin: A Giraffe's Journey by James Rumford is the fascinating and beautifully illustrated story of a giraffe captured in Africa in the early 1400s and traded along until he arrives in China. The full pages overflow with images and words that bring the people and times to life. This book is text-heavy for a picture book, but we were all fascinated. I think I planned to read it over a few days but no one wanted to stop. Though I'm not sure I've mentioned it before, it's one of my favorite books.

Romeo and Juliet retold by Bruce Coville, pictures by Dennis Nolan, is an enjoyable version of Shakespeare's play. I warned my children it was a tragedy and therefore would not have a happy ending but that it's a beautiful play. The illustrations are fantastic in this version. It is a little heavy on text, so you might want to spread it over a few days for younger listeners. If you're studying Romeo and Juliet, this is a great version to share.

The links above to Amazon are affiliate links. The links to RC History in this post are not affiliate links (though I am an affiliate).

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