Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Buried City of Pompeii

The Buried City of Pompeii

Shelley Tanaka
Illustrator:  Greg Ruhl 
For ages 10 and up
Hyperion, 1997   ISBN: 978-0786815418

Imagine a city that is empty of people, a great city that was once full of life, of colour, of sound. Imagine too a city that has not been lived in for almost 2000 years. This is the city of Pompeii. It was a beautiful place, set at the base of a picturesque mountain. The mountain, Vesuvius, held a secret though and on August 24 A.D 79, the secret was revealed. Vesuvius exploded with such violence that Pompeii and the nearby city of Herculaneum were engulfed by ash and pumice.

In this book we read about what it must have been like to be in Pompeii at the dreadful time. We follow the fortunes and misfortunes of a man and his daughter and 'see' Pompeii before, during, and after the eruption which caused so much misery and death. The last section of the book describes what we know today about the eruption and what we have learned through the excavations carried out at Pompeii and Herculaneum. We see photographs of some of the artefacts found at Pompeii and perhaps most moving of all, we are able to see the victims of Vesuvius. Archaeologists have been able to make casts of the bodies of the victims so that we can see them just as they were when they died.

Superbly researched and packed with wonderful illustrations and photos, this is an excellent book about a landmark event in human history. This is an "I Was There Book."