Planning a cosy night in, by yourself or with your siblings or cousins or even with your parents? Get ready to be silly, surprised, and laugh out loud reading this fun book.

The Horribly Huge Book Of Awful Egyptians & Ruthless Romans is filled with humour, sarcasm and exaggeration — but it will teach you a thing or two about history and at the same time crack you up!

Terry Deary is an established children’s book author and believes that when children are forced to read, it takes all the fun out. He believes reading should be fun. His books, although controversial, are a major attraction internationally.

Although the ‘Horrible Histories’ series is meant for ages seven and up, even younger children will enjoy the vivid imagery, puns and easy-to-understand sarcasm of the author.

The book is divided into two main sections: Awful Egyptians and Ruthless Romans — no offence intended, of course! That’s just Deary’s way to get your attention. History is presented in a fun and interesting manner, making it easier for children to visualise how life would have been like in early Egypt and Rome.

Filled with sarcasm and unnecessary exaggeration, the book surely is interesting. Some parents might find the wording offensive, but trust me, having read multiple books by the author — it is all meant to be in good spirits. The part on Marvellous Medicine in the Ruthless Romans section of the book is quite well put together.

I liked how the author terms the roots of Roman medicine to be a mix of common sense and insanity!

Yes, I had a tough time deciphering the analogy too.

Being a long-time critique of Deary for his harsh and gory storytelling, one has to acknowledge the fact that he has developed a niche for impalements, plagues and utter disbelief in the children’s book market.

I loved the blend of humour, sarcasm, history and insanity. The silliness of the book throughout may make an avid reader doubt the facts in the book, but, trust me, it serves the intended purpose, which is edutainment. The book asks children to relive history, but by making themselves a part of it. The author allows children to interpret Egyptian and Roman history through their own understanding — by presenting the facts in a silly manner.

The wealth of knowledge on early Romans and Egyptians will keep a history buff away from the History Channel for a little while. Yet, the Horrible Histories TV show has added to the already-growing fanbase of the series, and has widened the scope of the series, attracting an even younger audience that can barely read.

So plan a fun night in and be prepared to get spooked, laugh at the funny cartoons, test each other’s learning with crazy quizzes and more importantly, learn history. For all the people who think history is boring, think again!

Confession: I found myself visualising the pharaohs and being on top of the pyramids for a long while before falling asleep — all thanks to Martin Brown’s powerful illustrations!

Note: If you don’t have the stomach for some brutal and gory details, we suggest you stay away from this book!

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 31st, 2021

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