Helly, Mathilde, and Remi Courgeon. Montezuma and the Aztecs. Henry Holt, 1996. ISBN 0- 8050-5060-4. $19.95. 96 pp.” 6+ NF Reviewed by Rachael W. Galvez This extraordinary book, part of the W5 (Who, What, Where, When, Why) series by Henry Holt Reference Books, is unlike any book I have ever seen. The back cover contains this warning:”May be habit-forming. Laboratory tests have shown that prolonged exposure to books in the W5 series can cause the reader to develop increased awareness and an uncontrollable enthusiasm for the subject matter.” It's true! It is hard to describe what makes this book so special-you have to see it to believe it! Each two- page spread presents a different aspect of Aztec history and culture. One can skip around to different topics of interest, or read the book from cover to cover. The layout of each page-spread is unique, but all contain fascinating text, intriguing illustrations (some original and some historical works), and a catchy, often humorous title that piques the reader's curiosity. Some examples include “In Mexico blood transfusions kept the sun alive,”In Mexico, people played basketball with their elbows and Parcheesi with beans,” and “Unfortunately for the Aztecs, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, the world became round.” The creators of this book brought pertinent knowledge and talents to the project. Mathilde Helly holds a doctoral degree in Latino Studies and is a middle-school teacher. Rémi Courgeon is the art director of an advertising agency and the illustrator of several children's books. The book includes a brief index, a list of books for further reading, and illustration and photograph credits. It is a must for libraries serving middle schools, high schools, or even adults. Other books in the series include Victoria and Her Times, The Beatles and the Sixties, Alexander and his Times, Caesar and Rome, Michelangelo and his Times, Ramses II and Egypt, and Lucy and her Times.
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