Book review – Famous Family Trees

Title: Famous Family Trees

Written by: Kari Hauge

Illustrated by: Vivien Mildenberger

Published by: Lincoln Children’s Books (an imprint of the Quarto Group)

Famous Family Trees

Kari Hauge has collated the family histories of 25 people who lived from 100BC to AD2013 into one magnificent book. Some, like William Shakespeare, have complicated trees stretching back hundreds of years. Others, like Cleopatra VII and Mahatma Ghandi, have ancestors who are only known through myths, or stories passed down orally over the years. Every spread reveals a treasure trove of information to explore and cherish.

Each person from Julius Caesar to Martin Luther King is covered by a double-page spread. The left hand page provides a brief concise historical profile of the person. The right hand page contains the elaborate family tree. The How to Use section is an essential part of this book. It explains how family trees work and how they have been laid out in this book to fit onto a single page.

 Famous Family Trees supplies the answers to such questions as:

  • Who did Cleopatra grow up with?
  • Did Marie Antoinette’s extravagance cause the French Revolution?
  • Where did Genghis Khan’s fierce nature come from?
  • What were Charlotte Bronte’s pseudonyms?
  • What was life like in the Kennedy household?
  • How did Annie Oakley stand up for women’s rights?

The beautiful, detailed illustrations by Vivien Mildenberger look as though they have been hand drawn with water-colour pencils to give each portrait a vintage, historical touch. The detail is incredible. Readers from 8+ to adult will love to pour over and trace through the intricate webs of all of the historical and literary figures’ ancestry.

This book would be a useful resource in the classroom to support learning about a significant historical person. It would also make the ideal present for a gifted and talented child.

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