People and potions

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
Karen Keddie looks at some of the latest information books

The Life of..series Mary Seacole By Emma Lynch Heinemann pound;11.50 hb, pound;6.75 pb

A Painful History of Medicine series Bedpans, Blood and Bandages, a history of hospitals Pox, Pus and Plague, a history of disease and infection Scalpels, Stitches and Scars, a history of surgery

Pills, Powders and Potions, a history of medication By John Townsend Raintree pound;12.50 each hb. History in Art series Tudor England By Nicola Barber

Native Americans By Brendan January Raintree pound;12.50 each hb

Journey through Islamic Art By Na'ima bint Robert and Diana Mayo Mantra Pounds 8.50

To add to an already vast choice of titles, The Life of Mary Seacole is a much needed resource book from Heinemann. As part of "The Life of" series covering a range of historically remarkable people, this book is particularly useful to compare with the Florence Nightingale title and is well adapted for key stage 1.

There is a simple text and layout with clear, highlighted captions to accompany the pictures and photographs of source materials. Bold words lead the reader to a glossary, fact file and timeline. A great research tool for any infant class.

The A Painful History of Medicines series from Raintree, with titles such as Pox, Pus and Plague and Scalpels, Stitches and Scars, provides information books that will capture the attention of many a child, teenager, or even adult.

Designed to inform us about how medicine and surgery have evolved over many hundreds of years, they are full of fact boxes, photographs and visual historical sources, many of which may evoke a feeling of queasiness.

The colour pages are very busy and, although they have a running glossary and extremely clear captions, they are going to be most useful to KS2 and 3 readers. If you're about to embark on a study of invention, change or health, then these are a must.

The History in Art series , also from Raintree, combines two subjects in one, a necessity for primary teachers or any teacher who wants to teach a broader topic.

These books treat art as evidence and provide detailed accounts of various aspects of life in the past. The artworks are annotated and the "story" of each is written around the double-page spread. Architecture, garden design, portraits, fashion, literature and music are all represented within the colourful and well-laid-out pages.

Each book in the series contains a timeline and a glossary of historical and art terms.

For any teachers who wish to link art to RE, try the beautiful Journey through Islamic Art by Na'ima bint Robert and Diana Mayo (with parallel texts in English and Chinese together). A simple storybook illustrated with aspects of Islamic art and architecture, it may inspire many a broader art, geography or RE lesson - or all combined.

The book is complete with Islamic explanations to help the reader enjoy the contents.

Karen Keddie teaches at Deerswood Primary School, Gloucestershire

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