Kirkus Reviews QR Code
KIDS AT THE CROSSROADS: AZTEC by Laura Scandiffio

KIDS AT THE CROSSROADS: AZTEC

By Laura Scandiffio (Author) , Tina Holdcroft (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-55451-177-8
Publisher: Annick Press

In faux blog posts, a young resident of Tenochtitlán describes his training at a military school, confused melees with bands of warriors from rival cities and the portent-ridden arrival of Cortés. Considering himself more priest than warrior material (those being the two choices available), Yoatl chronicles his unhappiness as in various misadventures he inadvertently captures an enemy lad, then helps him escape being bloodily sacrificed and goes on to become a captive himself before falling in with the strange and duplicitous Spaniards. Side panels (“hyperlinked” to his narrative) offer encyclopedia-style entries on his culture’s theology and general customs—all accompanied by an undifferentiated blend of new illustrations and unsourced period art. Readers will be left with a clear sense of that culture’s pervasive fatalism but only vague notions about how the Aztecs lived their daily lives. A participant in the 1212 Children’s Crusade supplies a similarly hybridized report in Kids at the Crossroads: Crusades, illustrated by John Mantha (ISBN: 978-1-55451-147-1, paper: 978-1-55451-146-4). Both volumes try for too much and end up offering neither a properly developed story line nor a coherent picture of their narrators’ historical contexts. (Infofiction. 10-12)