Thursday, July 30, 2009

Make History Come Alive with Famous Figures of Ancient Times

Boy, “paper dolls” have sure come a long way since I was a kid! I was recently sent a copy of the book, Famous Figures of Ancient Times, by Cathy Diez-Luckie for review. If you and your kids like history, this book is wonderful! The subtitle is “movable paper figures to cut, color, and assemble,” and that’s exactly what it is. Each page in the book features a historical figure, such as Khufu (Egyptian pharaoh), Hammurabi (king of Babylon), Cyrus the Great (founder of the Persian Empire), Aristotle (Greek philosopher), Qin Shi Huangdi (Chinese emperor), and Biblical figures, such as Jesus, Moses and King David.

There are 20 famous figures in this book, but there are two versions of each: one in full color and the other as a line drawing that kids can color. Each figure is printed on sturdy paper and is assembled using a 1/8” hole punch and mini brads, fasteners or eyelets. (Note that the 1/8” size is not the standard hole punch size. You’ll most likely need to go to a craft store to find these materials. I got mine at Michael’s.)

My boys and I are having a lot of fun putting our figures together and reading about each of the characters. Brief information is included for each, and parents or educators can use the figures in conjunction with a larger lesson on each person and time period. The illustrations in the book are true to period costume and, when applicable, based on authentic mosaics, paintings and statues. Famous Figures of Ancient Times would be a valuable addition to a homeschooling curriculum.

I’m also happy to find that my boys are still playing with their figures. Of course, being five years old, they both selected figures with swords so they can battle! But it’s great that they’ve taken an interest in history and love for me to tell them the name of each figure. For instance, they now know that a “hoplite” is a citizen-warrior of ancient Greece. (I didn’t know that!) Of course, there are hundreds, even thousands, of other figures that could have been included in this book (including some women), but this is a great start for getting kids interested in history with a project that is hands-on and creative.

Other great books in the Figures in Motion series are being developed, such as Famous Figures of the United States, Famous Figures of the Renaissance, and Famous Figures of the Bible, as well as books with dinosaurs and animals. Go to to sign up for their free monthly newsletter, which provides:

Fascinating Facts about the great men and women of history and the time in which they lived

Details about events and life in distant civilizations that make them come to life today

Links to explore famous people, archaeology, art, architecture, maps, geography, and more

Lesson plans to make history fun and memorable

Contests you can enter to win free prizes and the latest news on upcoming titles

Famous Figures of Ancient Times is an award-winning book that will provide hours of fun and learning for your children. It’s also a creative addition to any history curriculum. I highly recommend this book!

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds like a great way to get children interesting in History. Very creative.


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