This post is a review of the children’s book Pompeii — Buried Alive! (Step into Reading) by Edith Kunhardt (pp. 48).
This text provides the story of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius which destroyed the town of Pompeii at the base of the mountain in AD 79. The first part of the book seems to emphasize how the day of the eruption was like any other day. People were buying and selling at the market, going to the spas, visiting the temples, etc.
When the volcano initially erupts people are shocked and confused. Many people choose to flee by boarding ships to sail away from the place. For those who stayed the volcano dropped huge amounts of ash that buried almost everybody, If this did not finish someone off then the volcano dumped a huge volume of poisonous gas in the form of a pyroclastic eruption.
The disaster was seen from a distance and a boy who later became known as Pliny the Younger witnessed the events. Pliny would later write about these events which would provide historical evidence for the existence of Pompeii.
After several centuries, the original town of Pompeii is buried and forgotten and a new town was built on it. Eventually, construction workers uncover the city and archeologist descend on the site.
After doing some excavations the archeologist noticed something strange. There are many empty holes in the soil. Eventually, someone came up with the idea of dumping plaster inside them. The results were shocking. When the plaster hardens it left the impression of bodies of people in the position in which they died. It was a sobering reminder of the gruesome destruction of the volcano. Other artifacts were found such as jewelry, mosaics, and even food.
Today the original site of Pompeii is a tourist attraction.
The text is designed for young readers and it is truly simple in its writing. The illustrations are ok but a little dated.
The author took some creative liberty in the development of the text. There is an unnamed family that provides a vechilce for depicting daily life. Since the family is unnamed it is hard to tell if they truly existed or not. This is probably not a problem for child but if they share this as if it was true it could reflect poorly on them.
This is not the greatest text. There are better choices out there for explaining the destruction of Pompeii to kids. However, the price is great and you truly get what you pay fofr in this situation.