In a tongue-limbering recitation, Tlenamacac (fire priest) Ten Vulture describes his city, his gods, and his training.
“It’s the year 1518 and you’re in the middle of the Aztec Empire,” he burbles, with a fine disregard for verisimilitude. “Aztecs rule, ok?” Ten Vulture then introduces Itztlacoliuhqui, Xipe Totec (“god of flayed skins…”), and eight other deities whose names are left to readers to sound out. Following this, he retraces his history from being chosen for the priesthood through games, wars, and blood sacrifices (with a bit of cannibalism thrown in). Despite multiple references to gruesome ritual practices, though, in the cartoon illustrations the occasional spatters of gore are almost unnoticeable. Aloisi populates his scenes with brown-skinned, bare-chested boys and men sporting elaborate headdresses or topknots (the few women in view are discreetly covered up). The attempt at historical accuracy seems to die with the scribbles that stand in for Aztec writing. At least most of the kanji in the co-published How to Live Like a Samurai Warrior and the hieroglyphics in How to Live Like an Egyptian Mummy Maker seem to be more than generic scribbles. These and How to Live Like a Caribbean Pirate (who were nearly all, at least according to illustrator Tatio Viano, white) are similarly framed as narratives by young participants.
A bland alternative to You Wouldn’t Want to Be an Aztec Sacrifice (2013) and other entries in that rousing series. (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-11)