I recently read a fantastic book of fiction, The Death-Defying Pepper Roux. In it, the young Pepper Roux deposits himself into the lives of an unlikely mix of people,easily masquerading as a grizzled sea captain, a reporter, a drunken husband, a store clerk. How does he do it? Well, he theorizes,
"People see what they expect to see. Don't they?"
And this, is the theme of If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge. For decades - even centuries, people have assumed that 4,500-year-old, mysterious circle of stones on England's Salisbury Plain was an ancient temple - perhaps belonging to the Druids. Why did they think this? Because that is what they were told, and that is what they expected to see.
Fast forward to 1998, when lesser-known archaeologists, Mike Parker Pearson and Ramilsonia, suggested to the world that Stonehenge was not a place of the living, but rather a monument to the dead. Then later, in 2005, when Mike Parker Pearson's team uncovered Woodhenge, the circle of the living, a nearby wooden counterpart to Stonehenge, it was as if (to paraphrase the book) scholars living 4,000 years from now were studying a basketball hoop. Every famous professor and teacher is certain that the hoop and post are part of a complex religious ritual. Scores of books and studies have been written on the subject, when suddenly, a newcomer says, "Hey, did you notice that there is another hoop at the other end of the court? I think ancient people played games here."
This is the story told in If Stones Could Speak; it is more than the story of Stonehenge, how it was built and used (although that is covered in detail as well). It is rather a lesson that one should always look at a problem from all sides and be willing to accept new ideas and discard old ones. This 64-page book contains nine chapters that tell the story of Stonehenge, of scientific discoveries (both new and old), and of Mike Parker Pearson's Stonehenge Riverside Project. As expected in a National Geographic publication, the photos are excellent and numerous with detailed captions. Easy explanations are included for the processes of carbon dating and strontium analysis. Rounding out the story are maps, a brief encyclopedia of Stonehenge, a chronology of Stonehenge digs, a timeline, and suggestions for further reading.
This is a perfect choice for grades 5-8, particularly for research paper use. Also perfect for anyone interested in knowing more about Stonehenge, and the related Woodhenge, Southern Circle, Avenue, and Durrington Walls. All are connected in this fascinating new look at a very old topic.
The schedule for future Nonfiction Monday sites may be found at Picture Book of the Day. Thanks to
Anastasia Suen for coordinating Nonfiction Monday events.
- Sarah at In Need of Chocolate and I have two things in common today - we're both up early and have reviewed National Geographic titles. Enjoy her review of Prehistoric Mammals. Thanks!
- Abby the Librarian has reviewed two titles from Bearport's new Disaster Survivor series. A very timely post, as sadly, there have been quite a few of these lately. Check out her reviews of Leveled by an Earthquake and Erased by a Tornado at Abby (the) Librarian.
- Charlotte's Library reviews The Humblebeee Hunter (love the title!), an account of the great bumblebee count, "inspired by the life and experiments of Charles Darwin and his family."
- The Wild About Writing Trio offers a review of Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story - another timely topic with Earth Day right around the corner. Thanks!
- Doret, of the Happy Nappy Bookseller offers another NG title, Oceans by Johnna Rizzo. 450-pound jellyfish! Yikes!
- The Jean Little Library offers reviews on a selection of Earth Day offerings.
- Calling all science teachers! Check out SimplyScience for a review of (and activities for) Cocci, Spirilla, & Other Bacteria.
- National Library Week, National Poetry Month, and Math Awareness Month too! Who knew? Michelle Markel's Cat and the Fiddle offers an interview with Loreen Leedy, author of Missing Math: A Number Mystery.
- The creative minds at Bookends have reviewed Bulu: African Wonder Dog, who sounds so much more likeable than my own Jack Russell-in-laws.
- Robin at The Book Nosher contributes a thoughtful post on Elizabeth Partridge's Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary, a powerful look at the role of children and teens in the lead-up to the landmark march from Selma to Montgomery.
- Biblio File's Jennie, "coffee addict, torch singer, and librarian ninja," (love it!) adds Smile to our list - a graphic memoir of "growing up and the pain of crappy friends and first crushes and the 1989 San Fransisco earthquake... and a really gross (but wonderfully told) story of dental drama/trauma."
- Spring - a wonderful time to enjoy nature! Enjoy and Embrace Learning offers a review of a nature-themed alphabet book, ABC's Naturally: A Child's Guide to the Alphabet through Nature.
- Author, comic, and "certified nut," Helaine Becker, offers "The Top Ten Funniest Words in the English Language." Thanks for the laugh, Helaine. Visit her blog Track and Display Changes.
- Wrapped in Foil is "Bursting with Poetry" and some beautiful photos, too!
- Language, Literacy, Love offer suggstions for teaching Fiction vs. Non-Fiction.
- Sally Apokedak's Whispers of Dawn contains a review of Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa. Mary Kingsley was a British explorer, about, whom I must confess, I know nothing. That's why I love Non-Fiction Monday! Always something new to learn.
- Author and librarian, Wendie Old, of Wendie's Wanderings offers an artistic review of Nature's Paintbox: A Seasonal Galley of Art and Verse, another timely review for National Poetry Month.