BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! Explore the Amazing Collection of the British Library written by Mick Manning and illustrated by Brita Granström is a pleasant and interesting tour for 8-12 year olds of one of the most unique libraries in the world with its many millions of important books, letters, charts, drawings and maps.
The book takes the reader from The Magna Carta to Handel’s handwritten sheet music and from the 11th Century tale of Beowulf to the 19th Century writings of Sherlock Holmes. Jane Austen and the Brontë Sisters dwell there too as well as the first cookbooks, Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll’s Alice. Brief narratives about the selected twenty-one works and the writers, scientists, inventors and artists who created them are augmented in the back material.
The rich illustrations, done in watercolor and digital art, are a visual feast for the tasting. Beowulf is shown battling the monster Grendel. The artist gives Grendel a long red tongue bringing forth a menacing visual element. The Brothers Grimm can be seen combing the dark forests for storytellers who hold oral tales about witches, magic spells and lost children. One of the brothers is alarmed to see a witchy dark form following them but the other, unaware, is calmly writing down the last story collected.
Interesting facts pop up everywhere, too, such as Leonardo Da Vinci wrote backwards in his Notebooks and the Brontë sisters took on male names in order to get their novels published.
All photographic images are from the British Library archives. The author also includes a fine suggestion for all readers to visit their own local lending library often.
BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! Explore the Amazing Collection of the British Library written by Mick Manning and illustrated by Brita Granström is perfect for middle graders who love books (Candlewick Press, 2017).
Questions and Activities for BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! Explore the Amazing Collection of the British Library
Questions and Activities
Study the illustration in this book of the tea party from the 1865 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This original illustrator was done by John Tenniel. What has the illustrator of BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! added to this picture? Who is the man in the black suit? Why is Alice looking so intensely at him? Who is he looking at? Why does he have such a sheepish look on his face? Read this chapter from the novel by Lewis Carroll and write a conversation between Alice and the man in the black suit that reveals who he is and what is on her mind and why?
Look over the photographic image of the January 1788 edition of The Times. What is going on in London? What is the location of the Theatre Royal where The Tragedy of Julia is playing? What music did Mozart publish and dedicate to Haydn on this day? Who was the director of the comic opera The King of Corsica? What was the price of the paper?
The British Library contains many cookbooks including the 1780 first printed copy of the Forme of Cury or The Method of Cooking. Do some research. Find out what was included in this book. Does anything sound good? What one of your favorite current dishes would you include?