We’re heading back to the world of Greek mythology! Given how well the last British Museum/Nosy Crow book went down, we decided it was time to tackle The Legend of Troy by Goldie Hawk and Esther Aarts. I picked this up when I took my students to see Troy: Myth and Reality at the British Museum last year – hard to believe that was my last trip/train ride anywhere. The book is based on the exhibition, and happily goes far beyond the usual highlights of the Trojan War story to introduce younger readers to the many questions which arise when we investigate the past. There’s still plenty of horse, though!
The set-up is the same as Secret Treasures of Ancient Egypt and the production is just as beautiful; I’m so impressed by how seamlessly the bright and cheerful illustrations are combined with real object photos. The reading level on this one is pitched a little higher than the Egyptian equivalent, and there is a lot more complex information packed into each page. This didn’t work as well for H, but the pictures held his attention well and we were able to look at different items and talk about them. He really liked the ‘moo cow vase’ – aka bull rhyton! – and of course the terracotta face pots (who doesn’t?!)
There is a good level of interactivity throughout, with little bubble questions and lots of silliness from the chatty characters. There’s a fold-out map/scene at the end with 100+ stickers, and of course the most exciting part of all: a Trojan horse to build yourself, complete with several little Greek soldiers to hide inside. The cardboard bits simply pop out of the page, making it easy for little hands to do.
We both ended up absolutely covered in glue but it was a lot of fun to work on together, and a great way for H to practice his construction skills. He was really excited to see the flat picture turn into a 3D horse he could hold, and even more excited to hide the wee men inside. We did lots of silly playing with these (‘Helloooo can I come in I’m just a regular horse no people in here noooope!’), and it kept him entertained for much longer than I expected! It is a clever way of making the most memorable part of the narrative really come to life, and the hands-on element is perfect for play-based learning. Plus, the plot of ‘hiding inside a big horse’ has been permanently added to the playtime repertoire!