(D) Ages 10-12, Book Reviews, Boys, Nonfiction, Raising Readers
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World War I: An Interactive History Adventure by Gwenyth Swain

World War I: an Interactive History Adventure by Gwenyth Swain. (You Choose Books), Capstone, 2012. 112 pages including timeline, index, etc.

Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10ww1 an interactive history
Maturity Level: 4 (ages 11-12)

As in all the “You Choose” history series books, readers have three main paths to travel: as a nursing student in Belgium, a Welsh farm boy, or an American college student. Each has its own time frame and milieu with about an equal number of chances to live or die. Chapter 1 gives the run-up to war, and Chapter 5 summarizes the conflict. In between you can be gassed, shot, drowned, captured, shell-shocked, or infected with the flu. Or you can survive and go home. Readers will get no sense of chronology from this skipping around, but the personal perspective draws the reader in automatically and communicates an idea of the war’s chaotic nature and peril in an engaging way. Not written for literary appeal, though; an overabundance of choppy sentences begins to wear on this reader.

Cautions:Dark/Depressing (the second-person narrative may bring some destructive endings a little too close)

Overall Value: 3.5

  • Worldview/moral value: n/a
  • Artistic value: 3

Categories: History, Nonfiction, Middle Grade

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