Thanks goes to BrokenTunes for introducing me to Horrible Histories!
While reading this, I couldn't help but think of How They Croaked, a book I read recently that handled the ends of famous people in an irreverent and dark humored manner, just as this one does. While I enjoyed both because of this perspective designed to introduce history in a fun manner to children, the same issues I had with the first were present in this book as well.
While many of the facts I had at least a passing acquaintance with, others I knew little about. And there were no footnotes. There weren't even, as had been in How They Croaked, endnotes or notations of any sort on where their information came from. Now some of it I'll grant you was common knowledge but enough of it wasn't that there was definitely a need for at least a few pointers as to the source of their information.
One of my biggest problems with the similar book had been it's bias. All books have a bias in some form or fashion, just as every person does, but my issue with the other book was how...manipulative they were about it. It was something most children were simply not going to pick up on and so angered me a great deal. This book was at least rather open in it's biases. While I'm not a fan of being hit over the head with your personal opinions...it was quite a refreshing change from persuasive writing for children who would not understand that term or how it could effect them.
This review makes it sound like I hated this book...and that's simply not the truth. I quite enjoyed it. The illustrations were fun, sarcastically humorous, and at times very enlightening. The presentations of facts changed enough to keep the reader interested and the games included were fun and sufficiently challenging even for me! While the facts were presented simplistically, I'd argue that most if not all of them were not simplified. Indeed, some of the events talked about are shocking at any age and were difficult to read about. I would suggest knowing the ability of the potential reader to stomach difficult, disgusting, and gory details. This is clearly meant for reluctant readers, and I can see where they would find it quite fun.
All in all, I'm glad I had a chance to read this and I'm hoping to eventually read the whole collection of Horrible Histories, of which I think this is a compilation version. I'm now off to watch some more of the show on Youtube.
Happy Readings, y'all!