Friday, February 8, 2013

Shakespeare, Darwin, Polo, Cleopatra & Dickens In Glorious Illustrated Biographies

Over the past couple of years, Templar Books (an imprint of Candlewick) has issued a series of stunning oversized biographies of some the great figures in history. Hardcover, copiously (COPIOUSLY) illustrated and full of foldouts, small envelopes and all manner of intriguing bits packaged in intriguing ways, the Historical Notebooks series includes William Shakespeare: His Life and Times, Marco Polo: History's Great Adventurer, Charles Dickens: England's Most Captivating Storyteller, Charles Darwin and the Beagle Adventure and Cleopatra: Queen of Egypt. Written by several different talented authors, these titles provide all the basic information a teen reader could want (and need) but the design places them so far over the top that readers of any age (including adults) will find them difficult to ignore. Each page offers something more pleasing than the previous with extracts from original texts plus facsimiles of old magazines, drawings, maps, letters, tapestries even (!!) spread out wide or alternately carefully placed within the text. This is food for the brain and the eye, titles to enjoy on so many levels that one feels almost surprised to be pouring over historical texts in such an avid manner. (Personally I can't get enough of old maps and letters so these are a real treat for me.) Behind the cut, feast your eyes on some of the interiors and see what you are missing.

From William Shakespeare:


From Marco Polo:


From Cleopatra





back to main page

6 comments:

Alex Baugh said...

These look like just the kind of thing I would like. I think kids really relate to interactive books and it looks like a great way to introduce them to biographies that are not just dry text.

Colleen said...

I think they help a lot for all ages - certainly up through high school. Honestly, the adults that have seen these books around my house have not been able to resist turning the pages. The illustrated content just puts them over the top every single time.

Kelly Fineman said...

Love this. Like Griffin & Sabine, but nonfiction. Or not. But still, I would have been all over these as a kid.

aquafortis said...

These look amazing! I loved Griffin and Sabine for the interactive, artistic elements as much as for the story--and I know I would have loved these as a kid/teen. I'll definitely be looking for them.

Colleen said...

Yep - very Griffin & Sabine-ish. I think I might have actually cared about Shakespeare if I had seen this in junior high! ha!

Colleen said...

Yep - very Griffin & Sabine-ish. I think I might have actually cared about Shakespeare if I had seen this in junior high! ha!