A History of Just About Everything: 180 Events, People and Inventions That Changed the World

MACLEOD, Elizabeth & . illus. by Qin Leng. 124p. chron. index. map. Kids Can. 2013. Tr $21.95. ISBN 978-1-55453-775-4.
Gr 4–6—This book's time line encompasses a lot of history, 6,000,000 BCE through 2011 (and beyond), and the 120-odd pages do a great job of briefly introducing 180 important historical events. Touching on landmark events (first humans appear, fire is discovered, language and farming are developed, the wheel is invented, Hitler's rise, the Moon landing, the collapse of communism in Europe, 9/11), this is a good place to start when introducing world history to young students. Cartoon illustrations are a softly hued and slightly humorous distraction at times, but more often they help to clarify the text. Colored sidebars titled "Ripples" offer further information or explication. For example, while readers learn about the Magna Carta, the side box explains that King John had no intention of honoring this agreement, but that it "changed England and much of the world forever." A handy chronology divided by subject areas and a complete index round out the presentation. Compact and surprisingly complete, this volume is a superb introduction.—Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine PublicLibrary, WI

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