If you have failed to notice the marvellous Terry Deary book series, Horrible Histories, then you must have been living in a cave! These books are truly remarkable. They cover pretty much every aspect of popular history (and some not so known) in an incredibly accessible way. Yes they are aimed as non-fiction for children (and are so wonderful to have in the classroom – children eat them up!), but that doesn’t mean you cannot read them too! They are witty, entertaining and most importantly, easy to read!! If you enjoy history yet find the adult orientated introductions to topics heavy and something of an ordeal, then flick to these little gems! Using a mix of cartoon strips, quizzes, fact bubbles, pictures, diagrams and the bog standard paragraphs of writing (so novel), gory details and genuinely interesting information is divulged. If nothing else, read them and then look hugely knowledgeable down the pub at the weekly quiz! Your friends will revel in your brilliance!
However, if this bank holiday weekend, reading seems just a little too strenuous then I seriously recommend you check out the CBBC adaptations. I finally feel like our TV license fee has been put to good use in turning these remarkable books into possibly one of the greatest children’s TV series’ ever! Cleverly adapted and really very entertaining, Steve and I are guilty of watching episodes on i-player! Below is one of my favourite clips, the story of Helen of Troy. Forget watching the ridiculous epic film with Orlando ‘wet boy’ Bloom. Don’t put yourself through that ordeal to understand the story, but treat yourself to 3 minutes of sheer delight below!
I would also recommend you have a play on the CBBC Horrible Histories web site – there are clips and games and generalness related to the TV series. I would suggest you have a watch of Steve’s favourite song too! Watch I’m a Knight parts I and II – these also feature the comic genius Steve Punt ‘off of’ Punt and Dennis. My personal favourite sketches are Stupid Deaths where Death is admitting people to the other realm and Historical Characters have to explain how idiotic their death was!
Terry Deary’s brilliance has far reaching tentacle these days. Not only can you buy a huge range of related paraphernalia; books, cds, posters, stickers etc. But you can also buy Rotten Romans board games which is now also available on the Nintendo DS. There have also been, in the past, touring stage shows which we are eager to return. But the absolute best thing that has happened recently in relation to these fantastic creations is . . . the announcement of a second CBBC series! Huzzah!!! Our i-player will be very happy! And our bellies shall rumble with giggles and guffaws! And Steve will learn some new songs to disturb me with in the early hours of a day!
Sheer brilliance and a sheer delight. Everything that is churned out under the Horrible Histories title has so far been near to pure perfection (granted I have no idea what the games are like) so this bank holiday weekend, get a little historical! You never know, you might just like it!