GALEN by Marissa Moss


My Life in Imperial Rome
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10
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The author of the “Young American Voices” series takes readers considerably further into the past for a slave’s-eye view of life in Emperor Augustus’s household. Actually, young Galen’s life is not too bad; a well-educated son of a Greek muralist, he is fed and housed comfortably, never subjected to corporal punishment—though threatened with it by bullying nemesis Agrippa, Augustine’s grandson—and has such light duties that he’s even able to spend time with an outside friend, Micio. Despite one misguided attempt at dialect—Micio: “I’m with the Greens. They’re the best team, ya know. Wanna see the stable?”—Moss expertly folds real people and incidents, as well as carefully researched details about daily life, from food and dress to chariot racing, into a suspenseful tale in which Galen wins freedom by uncovering a (historical) plot to assassinate Augustus. As usual, Moss’s hand-lettered text is easy to read, and the small, simply drawn vignettes scattered between passages and down the margins add additional color to the lively narrative. She establishes her bona fides in a final note, and covers both sets of endpapers with maps, explanations, and supplementary information. For readers not yet up to Carol Lawrence’s Roman Mystery series, this makes an equally agreeable combination of story and history. (glossary) (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-15-216535-5
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2002


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