Book Review

November, 2012 - Great Fire of London 4 stars


Flight of Shadows

Great Fire Of London: Great Events

I had a hard time finding a book on the Great Fire of London until I ran across this inexpensive book for the Kindle. It explains the story clearly and succinctly with a plenty of illustrations sprinkled throughout the text. The paperback version has color illustrations, but the Kindle version has black and white pictures (even when viewed via the Cloud Reader on the computer). Most of the illustrations show up clearly on my Kindle Touch and when zoomed in many of the illustrations appear in landscape mode so they show up even better. The pictures are cartoony and should be appealing to kids.

The story is fairly simplistic, but covers the people and events you should know about such as King Charles, Pepys, the baker Thomas Farynor on Pudding Lane, how the fire started, what was done about it, how it affected the London populace, etc. It finishes up with information on the rebuilding that occurred afterwards and new decisions that were made like new buildings made with brick and stone instead of wood that burns too easily.

There is a tiny bit of gore such as this quote: "By the broken east wall, a schoolboy called Thomas Taswell saw a horrible sight- the body of an old woman, "...her clothes were burnt and every limb reduced to coal." The writing and length seems to be aimed at elementary students (and perhaps reluctant readers), but I'm using it for a middle school student.

There's a timeline at the end of the book that covers major events that occurred near the time of the Great Fire as well as a short 10 question quiz with answers. There is also a glossary that covers words like: firehook, inquiry, raker, sewage, etc.

If you need a book that quickly covers the Great Fire of London that will appeal to students, you can't beat the price of this one and the convenience of being able to download it in a few seconds. Your students should get a firm grasp on what the fire was all about and you'll have a means to check their comprehension with the quiz in the back.

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