Reviews /

So You Think You’ve Got it Bad? A Kid’s Life in the Aztec Age

Authored by Chae Strathie
Illustrated by Marisa Morea
Published by Nosy Crow Ltd

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So You Think You’ve Got it Bad? A Kid’s Life in the Aztec Age is one of a series of non-fiction texts offering a humorous look at a variety of historical periods. The 64 pages of this book aim to give children a ‘gruesome, weird and fascinatingly fun’ taste of what childhood was like in the Aztec age. The book is divided into ten chapters (which includes medicine, diet, education, family life and leisure) and is supported by a contents page, glossary and index. There is no introductory chapter, but perhaps the addition of one (with a map and timeline) may help to set the Aztec age in context.

The text speaks directly to the reader, enticing them to engage and make comparisons between their own life and that of an Aztec child. There is an abundance of jokes and quips which may be very much enjoyed by some readers (perhaps Horrible Histories fans). However, other readers might find this interrupts the flow of factual information at times.

Historical artefacts (the Florentine Codex and the Codex Mendoza) are mentioned to explain how historians know such information about Aztec society. Knowing very little about the Aztec age, I did enjoy learning some interesting facts. Did you know that the Aztecs made cakes from blue-green algae floating on the surface of a lake? They also ate tadpoles, slugs, flies and maggots.  Mmmmm – tasty!! Were you also aware that the Aztecs began each day by jabbing themselves with cactus spikes so that they could offer drops of blood as a tribute to the gods they worshipped?

The full colour Illustrations are bold and attractive. I wonder if the book might be enhanced further by including a few photographs of historical artefacts and sites? This text would be appealing to readers aged 7+ who want humour with their history.

Shortlisted for the Lollies 2023 Book Award Nonfiction Category