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Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame Review by Kris Price

Michael S. Class
Magic Picture Frame Studio LLC
PO Box 2603
Issaquah, WA 98027

You will never see anything like this book if you aren't looking for it! Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is an adventure-filled history book written with a time travel theme. Travel with 12-year old Anthony as he steps through the magic picture frame on the wall of his bedroom and visits some of the most important events in America's twentieth-century history. This book includes "225 action-packed pages, 82 historical photographs, 261 historical quotes, and 312 footnotes--plus Anthony's recommendations for 461 books, 595 movies, 217 songs and 155 places to visit!" Your child will learn many important details about some of the most important twentieth-century events.

The author has used digital technology to insert Anthony's picture into some of the most famous historical photographs. Anthony is there at the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima; he flies in the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh; he stands in the immigration line on Ellis Island; and he receives a polio vaccine in 1955. The digital enhancement of each photograph is incredible--more than just "copy and paste." It is obvious that the author spent a lot of time painstakingly adding shadows, appropriate clothing for the time period, etc., so that the authenticity of the photograph is preserved. You feel as if you are right there with Anthony!

The author also set out to share moral lessons of American history. From the inside front cover, "Anthony challenges the reader to think critically--to see the modern world in the light of the lessons of the past." The chapters are not brief overviews; rather, each one has about 20 pages FULL of historically accurate information written in a story-like format. This makes it very interesting for the child (and parent!). The footnotes are numerous and give even more information about the event. This book was written for age 12 and up, but I believe it could be read with younger children because the pictures are so captivating. The parent might just want to shorten the amount of text shared with those a bit younger.

The inclusion of all of the additional resources to check out--the lists of movies and books, etc.--really adds to the value of this book. A family can read about an event together and, if so led, can proceed to study it even more through the recommended items. My 12-year-old finds it fascinating and just picks it up to read. A 16-year-old I loaned it to enjoyed it tremendously, saying that he found it to be "a great book." Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame does not cover every event of the twentieth century, but it will get children interested in learning more about their past. The author has opened up a blog ( in order to share more about other historical events as well as current events. The blog also gives his readers a place to ask him questions about the book. And when they are done reading the book, they can even take an online quiz to test what they have learned!

To sum it up, "It's a history book with a lesson for the present day," says Class. "So don't be surprised because the book contains references to modern-day issues like the War on Terror, affirmative action, God in America, drug use in sports, illegal immigration, vaccines, abortion, the future of America's space program, capitalism, and the definition of marriage. It has to. I wrote the book to prepare young people for the challenges of their time--and their future."

Product review by Kris Price, Assistant to the Publishers, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006