Kirkus Reviews QR Code
POMPEII by Mary Pope Osborne Kirkus Star

POMPEII

Lost and Found

By Mary Pope Osborne (Author) , Bonnie Christensen (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 2006
ISBN: 0-375-82889-3
Publisher: Knopf

Frescoes illustrate this lovely reconstruction of life—and death—in the ancient city of Pompeii. The straightforward narrative opens with the city’s destruction by the eruption of Vesuvius and then fast forwards to its discovery by archaeologists and the painstaking reconstruction they have made of the lives of its inhabitants. Osborne takes care to ground surmise in the physical evidence, adducing such kid-pleasing detail as graffiti honoring gladiators and the discovery of petrified loaves of bread in bakers’ ovens. Christensen’s frescoes—what better medium could she have chosen?—depict Pompeii in both life and death, her design allowing most spreads to juxtapose recreations of Pompeian activities against a picture of a piece of substantiating evidence—a Roman lady in her garden appears with representations of ancient tools, and so on. Captions engage readers in a game to identify the purposes behind such objects, with the answers found at the back. It is of necessity an introductory treatment, but what a lovely introduction it is, and it will whet readers’ appetites for more in-depth examinations such as James Deem’s Bodies from the Ash (October 2005). (note on frescoes) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)