History with a Grain of Salt: Book Two by Zeno Singer
Striving to make the otherwise dusty pages of history glamorous and new, History with a Grain of Salt: Book Two reimagines ancient histories with a sense of humor and wisdom. Covering the age of Troy up until the death of Constantine and his fervently religious mother, Helena, Book Two gives a snapshot of the progression in time from Greek gods to the Christian Jesus. Zeno Singer uses snappy and amusing details to fuel his young readers’ imaginations, such as explaining how the first marathon was run and depicting mythological stories as though they happened in actuality. Singer seeks, in his History with a Grain of Salt series, to evoke the creativity and understanding of students regarding history in order to best teach them and help them to have long-lasting comprehension of the topics.
And for the most part Singer is successful. His chapters are brief, entertaining, and to the point. He covers an exhausting amount of history in what feels like only a few pages brimming with a sense of humor and irony. However, his technique in engaging students critically and comically backfires to a certain extent when it comes to trusting the author’s voice. Some students may not know when accurate information is being given versus imaginative, and will find his “storytelling” confusing rather than informative. That being said, most students are likely to relish Singer’s unique way of telling the stories of ancient cultures and civilizations. This is one series of history books that you won’t want to immediately shelve after having barely skimmed through.
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