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Seven Wonders of the World: Discover Amazing Monuments to Civilization Review by Kendra Fletcher

Carmella Van Vleet
Nomad Press
2456 Christian Street
White River Junction, VT 05001

I don't know about you, but I love books and resources that enhance our study of history, and particularly resources that touch on subjects that perhaps aren't widely covered otherwise. Even better are resources that offer hands-on activities to ignite a spark of interest in my kids. Seven Wonders of the World: Discover Amazing Monuments to Civilization is one such resource.

Author Carmella Van Vleet presents both the seven wonders of the ancient world and the seven wonders of the modern world, and she does so in an interesting and engaging way. With drawings to illustrate the monuments and the cultures who built them, Seven Wonders of the World is a book that any interested student might be seen poring over, particularly because they know they can get their hands dirty after reading about the projects.

These are really good projects too, requiring mostly items you'll have on hand already. Students learn to marbleize paper after reading about the Temple of Artemis, which was made of marble. They can make hanging gardens out of used milk jugs, take trick photos (the statue of Zeus was created with the illusion of looking taller than it actually was), and make a model of the Colosseum. They'll also make a hand sculpture to illustrate the Christ the Redeemer Statue, an inlaid design plaque for the Taj Mahal, millet porridge to taste after studying the Great Wall of China, a chac mool (small stone statue) for Chichen Itza, a facade of Petra, an etching that illustrates what we think the Colossus of Rhodes looked like, a frieze like those at Halicarnassus, an ionic column bank like those at the Temple of Artemis (the bank of the Ephesians), and a royal ship puzzle to remember the Great Pyramid.

Many of the activities illustrate scientific principles as well. Students can make a cloud in an empty 2-liter bottle (clouds abound over modern wonder Machu Picchu) or discover the softening properties of vinegar on a chicken bone (because architect Phideus had a secret method of softening ivory when he made the statue of Zeus). You'll also find lots of interesting sidebars, fun trivia, a comprehensive glossary of terms, and an excellent resource list.

We own a lot (and I mean a lot!) of books written to enhance our studies of history and science, and while some look really promising on the cover, they can contain very little actual information or doable projects. Seven Wonders of the World: Discover Amazing Monuments to Civilization delivers what it promises: fun, interesting, creative ways to discover the amazing monuments to civilization, both ancient and modern. This is a supplementary history and cultural resource worth owning.

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2011