Horrible Histories Angry Aztecs Book Review
I have to confess we didn’t know very much about the Ancient Aztecs therefore reading Horrible Histories Angry Aztecs has been a revelation for all the family. Another title from the Horrible Histories Blood Curdling Box of Books let’s take a look at just how angry the Aztecs were!
Thank Goodness the Mayans Were Wrong!
The Mayan people were a South American tribe that believed that the world was going to end on 22nd December 2012. Well, here we are all in one piece so they didn’t get that right! They worked out this prediction by watching the star formations a bit like how astronomers study the skies now. The Aztec tribe lived in what we now call Mexico next door to the ancient Mayans. Both these tribes are covered in the book and were influential in the region. Angry Aztecs begins with a comprehensive timeline so kids can see just where and when the tribes were most prominent. By the way the Mayans and Aztecs are still around today although they have obviously adapted to the modern world somewhat.
As with all Horrible Histories books gory details are never far away but are delivered rather tongue in cheek so as to amuse rather than disgust the reader. Everything is worded simply so children can easily take in the detail, while facts like “horrible habits” the Mayans had are really gruesome. Take for instance the fact that every morning at dawn a young girl was thrown 20 meters down a well and left there until midday. When she was brought up (that’s if she wasn’t dead) she would be asked what the gods had said to her. Or what about this one. If a Mayan child died its mother would cut off the end of her finger and bury it with the child! Imagine if she lost more than one child she could end up with no fingers!
Lots to Learn and Fun Quizzes
Kids can learn the Mayan calendar then show off to their friends by demonstrating how it works, while every now and then there is a quiz that tests kids on what they have learned. It really brought out the competitive streak in our children as they tried to outdo one another to win the quiz. Going to the dentist or seeing the doctor was a nightmare for the Mayans with cures such as swallowing shredded cockerel feathers or drinking a live toad dissolved in wine were mooted as cures. As adults it made us cringe but the kids took it all in their stride finding it hilarious!
The Aztecs also did horrible gruesome things such as offering human sacrifices to the Sun God by removing the victims heart while he was still alive! This act is played out in the book in cartoon picture form with funny remarks made by the victim making what was a barbaric act seem less so. Angry Aztecs is very clever in this regard as they make even the most awful details somehow seem palatable and funny making the kids laugh. As the victim in the cartoon is about to lose his heart he says “you’re a man after my own heart”, funny but true in this case. They often sacrificed the children of slaves too prompting our son to comment that if he was an Aztec he would be a rich one!
Angry Aztecs is another great title in the Blood Curdling Books Set. It is filled with very gruesome detail sparing the reader nothing but as with all their books the kids couldn’t get enough of it. We love the way Horrible Histories translates the most awful blood thirsty facts into amusing details to amuse while still educating the children. Our children tend to remember what they have learned really well when applying this method and as with the TV programme Horrible Histories has hit on a superb format that is really successful. To sum up, great book, superb detail, funny pictures, amusing facts, awesome quizzes and educational too!