Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Time Atlas: An Interactive Timeline of History

Time Atlas: An Interactive Timeline of History

Robert Hegarty
Illustrator:  Marcelo Badari 
Novelty Nonfiction Book
For ages 8 and up
360 Degrees, 2017   ISBN: 978-1944530099

Often, when we think about the story of our planet’s history, the picture we are confronted with is so big that we don’t know how all the pieces fit together, and how they are connected. We are told that civilizations rose thousands of years ago, but we have no idea which ones came first and how they might have influenced each other. How did artistic expression evolve? How did the daily lives of people change over time as new inventions were developed?

These are just a few of the questions that are answered in this remarkable interactive book. Using a series of timelines, the author shows us how sequences of events unfolded on our planet, and we can see how those events touch our world today.

We begin by looking at Earth’s early history, and we see the different periods that began with the Cambrian period 550 million years ago, and that ended with the decline of the dinosaurs 50 million years ago. By using artwork, lift-the-flap features, a pair of timelines, the author shows us how life evolved on our planet, and how ice ages influenced landscapes and affected the process of plant and animal evolution.

Next we are shown when different ancient civilizations rose and fall. We are able to see, thanks to a splendid timeline diagram, when civilizations overlapped, and annotations tell us about important events that took place along the timelines. We learn that the Watson Brake culture in North America rose around 5,500 years ago, a few hundred years before civilization took hold in the Indus Valley in India. Though the Watson Brake civilization began earlier, it died out quite quickly, whereas the one in India persisted for many thousands of years.

We go on to see a timeline of the world’s greatest buildings; a timeline that explores how art, literature, music, and fashion changed over time; a timeline that explores modes of transportation; a timeline that looks at inventions, and more.

This wonderful book presents history is such a fascinating and engaging way; even readers who are averse to history will find it hard to resist. Modest ‘bites’ of text perfectly compliment the annotated artwork and the lift-the-flaps that appear on every page.

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