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

Monday, 15 February 2016

Review: Timeline: A Visual History of Our World

Sometimes a book comes along that makes you marvel. Marvel at its structure, its content, its illustrations, its production., it's diversity and detail.

Timeline is just such a book.

Large format and visually striking, this is a heart-racer for sure. Anyone with even the merest adoration for illustration will be inherently drawn in, as will the history-buff, the adventurer, the time traveller and ... the child.

Subtitled A Visual History of Our World, this book is indeed a resplendently visual trip through history, from a giant explosion and the beginning of life, through those fascinating dinosaurs, our planet's first people, the first settlements, and onto such major civilisations as Ancient Egypt and Greece, the Celts, the Vikings and the Roman Empire.

The ages are then followed through the Middle Ages, the Ottoman Empire, the Incas and on through the centuries, covering great historical moments, people, adventures, mythology, inventions, politics, achievements and more.

As we approach modern times, the book begins to cover history in shorter bursts--through the decades of the 20th Century, to modern day. I must admit, the final entry on the 2010s was a little bleak, but the inclusion of Pharrell Williams' song Happy, with people dancing all over the place, is a welcome inclusion, as is the solidarity stance ('Je suis Charlie') and the implication that renewable energy is something that will soon become commonplace in our world. We can only hope.

Muted colours and a relatively dark palette give the book a museum-like feel, and the illustrations--a mixture of silhouetted imagery and hand-drawn elements--are just breathtaking in their complexity and design elements. When a book causes you to halt time and curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a thundering heart, you know it's done its job.

This book will appeal to students as much as teachers, children as much as adults. Younger children will adore its vast visual complexity, and older kids will relish the finer detail and snippets of text that will plump their brains before your very eyes.

Buy it for you. Position yourself on the couch and be transported to other times. The moment the kids see you, they won't need a moment's temptation to dive in alongside you.

Exquisite and a real feat--huge congratulations to Peter Goes and Sylvia Vanden Heede. One of my favourite books so far this year.

Title: Timeline: A Visual History of Our World
Author: Peter Goes and Sylvia Vanden Heede
Illustrator: Peter Goes

Publisher: Gecko Press, $34.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 February 2016
Format: Hard cover, large forma
ISBN: 9781776570690
For ages: 8+
Type: Picture Book, Non-Fiction

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