'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Review: Wicked Warriors and Evil Emperors

Who wouldn't want their book illustrated by the illustrious Terry Denton? No one could be more perfect to add visuals to this amazing book by author Alison Lloyd - whose affection for China drips (along with oozings of blood) from every page.

Living in China during the Tian'anmen Square massacre, Lloyd has certainly seen it all, and having lived in Beijing myself for four years, I was absolutely fascinated by this book - one of my favourite non-fiction books this year.

Gorgeously designed and laid out, the book features a fascinating historical introduction into the warring states of China, from the Rise of the Qin (pron. Chin) through the First Emperor and on through the demise of the Qin and their reign of terror.

Honestly? This book is fascinating. I've never seen such an intensely interesting take on Chinese history (which can be soooo long and soooo boring - especially for kids!). Lloyd has absolutely managed to make this massive morass of the past into a red hot snippet of fantastical, gobsmacking information I can't get enough of... and any kid would dive into wholeheartedly.

Packed with quotes, subheads, pronunciation guides, cartoons, fact files, maps and a totally humorous take on ancient script, kids will take to this book like a panda to bamboo. Example: five types of spy are listed in the infamous book Art of War by Sunzi. The author asks kids which one they'd rather be. A local agent, inside agent, double agent, living agent or dead agent.

I'm a little astounded at how the author managed to wade through a virtual lifetime of historical information to create this superb work of paperback art. Lloyd has done an incredible job - her work is authentic, informative, funny, totally clever, clear as a bell and not in the least bit mired by anything dullsville. My heart races to dive back into this book.

Blood and guts-lusting kids will adore it, as will anyone with a penchant for awesomely researched, funny, cool and hip information books. Denton's brilliant, dry and very funny work just tips this already perfect book over the edge into superb. Yes, yes. I love this book.

And Ms Lloyd - xie xie - wo ai ni!

Title: Wicked Warriors and Evil Emperors
Author: Alison Lloyd
Illustrator: Terry Denton
Publisher: Penguin, A$16.95
Publication Date: 2 August 2010
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780143304340
For ages: 8+
Type: Non-Fiction