Thursday, September 8, 2016

Visited the Middle Ages with Carole P. Roman... I Didn't Enjoy the Trip

Aalis or Melisende were popular
girl's were popular names. In fact,
your own name was Aalis. You
were named after your godmother.
Historians like to call this time period the Medieval or Middle Ages. The Medieval time period officially began roughly in the late 400s and lasted until the renaissance in the early 1400s.

The Roman Empire controlled most of Europe. It was famous for its strong network of safe roads, coinage, and a stable government that was defended by a vast and powerful army. This encouraged trade and the exchange of ideas between regions.

In 476, the Roman Empire fell apart, extinguishing communication and fracturing Europe into small communities called Feudal holdings that were governed by princes or warlords. Feudalism divided the vast empire into small kingdoms.

Each of the rulers of these small territories or fiefdoms held control of all the money and people who lived and worked the land.

They needed private soldiers to help them protect their holdings. Trained warriors called knights sold their services. Very often they were given land as payment. They became vassals to the person ruling the area. This meant they owed all their loyalty to the prince or warlord and would defend and fight for him.

If You Were Me and
 Lived in Middle Ages

By Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by Mateya Arkova

The publisher of books by this author has routinely sent these stories to me for review, so that I believe I've read all or most of Roman's work thus far. It's allowed me to come to know her work, her writing and to expect superior quality in her books. Sometimes that doesn't happen. This book starts out very similar to her other books, but with a book just under 100 pages, I could feel the difference coming on...

Consider if you would when you might have done research for a school paper and you made copies of what you found on line and then began to rewrite it according to a set format, without too much attention to the personalization of the words once you got into it.

What this results in is...a boring set of facts that, if you wanted to know about it, you could get on a number of sites online. As earlier mentioned, I grew...bored...reading this book. The verve, the vitality, the energy found in other books became lost and soon just disappeared. This also resulted in proofreading errors, mistakes in translating the researched text into the proactive storytelling method normally used, and a number of repetitions of the same facts. In other words, it needed editing. And interestingly, I found words in the Glossary that were not used in the narrative as well as questionable pronunciation guidelines, such as (roo-el) for rural??? or how about the definition of a shift - a simple kind of undergarment like a ship. Ahhh, I think that might have been a slip??? And other one syllable words, such as spit was divided as if it was two (sp-it)
Or how about taxes (tacks-es) we really teach children to sound out x as cks??? I hope not... Well...enough, you get the idea. I finally had to question, is the sounding out process supposed to be what they used in the Middle Ages, and would it really be a good thing for a child to learn, when it wasn't what we used today?

To this I am adding my own personal thoughts about the art work in this particular book. I think it could be a form of Impressionism, although I could be wrong. But I found it...sloppy. You know when you talk about teaching a child to color within the lines? It's that sort of thing...white patches surround some of the characters, as if the lines were not explicit enough that the coloring was extremely hard. Anyway, I recognize that children may not even consider that???

Ok, so why am I being so critical? Well, because these books are geared toward the older child, who hopefully will keep them in their home library. In my opinion, if you pay $20 for a library book, it should be able to be used into teen and adult years as a reference book. If not, just get your child a computer and teach them to learn how to search for school material. In a book, I expect something more... 

I won't say to not consider this book, I am providing this critical review for what I found. It is provided for your consideration...