Ten scenes from Neolithic Britain to the “golden age of piracy” are laced with anachronisms for alert young historians to spot.
With a pair of young tour guides (one white, one black) offering occasional hints throughout, viewers should have no trouble picking out most of the 20 howlers in each large-format, relatively uncrowded panorama, such as the jam jar, urban-style cave graffiti, cake with candles, and T. Rex in the Stone Age scene. Still, there are trickier details that will almost certainly go unmarked, such as the ears of corn next to that jam and a tiger painted on the cave’s wall. Fortunately there is a visual and explanatory key on each following spread. If the authors make a few specious claims (“No Stone Age man would have been seen draped in a zebra skin”) and point to the canoe rather than the generic Native American in the feathered headdress paddling it on the ancient Nile as the blooper, still their historical notes are reasonably accurate. Except in ancient Rome, human figures in Castle’s illustrations are uniformly tinted, either light brown or (more often) white.
Eye-opening discoveries await readers who think wheelbarrows, eyeglasses, street signs, and forks have always been around. (Nonfiction. 7-10)