Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Adventures in Ancient Greece

Adventures in Ancient Greece

Linda Bailey
Illustrator:  Bill Slavin 
Picture Book  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Kids Can Press, 2002   ISBN: 978-1550745368

Josh Binkerton has decided that he would really like to see what the Olympic Games of the future will look like. So he and his two sisters go to visit Mr. Pettigrew at the Good Time Travel Agency. Mr. Pettigrew has some very unusual guide books which can take you back in time, several of which the children have already tried. Surely he can send them to the future as well as the past. Unfortunately Mr. Pettigrew gives them a book which does take them somewhere but not where they expect. Instead of going to a futuristic Olympic Games, they go back in time to Ancient Greece.

So Josh, Emma, and little Libby end up traveling back in time, again. The rule is that the children cannot come home until they have read the whole of the book that has brought them there. Despite the strangeness of their circumstances Josh still wants to see the Olympic Games and the children make their way to Olympia, the place where the games are held. They discover how important the games are for the people of ancient Greece and what it is like to live in those times. Much to her annoyance Emma also learns how hard it was to be female in ancient Greece.

An easy to follow, comic strip style format makes this a very accessible story for readers who are put off by long pages of text. Funny facial expressions and excellent attention to detail make the artwork engaging and interesting.

In addition to the funny story about the three children and their adventures (and misadventures) in ancient Greece, readers can also read what is written in the magic book which has taken them back in time. At the bottom of every page they will find text from the book which describes the ancient Greeks, their beliefs, their traditions, and their history. Written in a light and bouncy style these sections can stand on their own and they also compliment what is happening to the Binkerton children.