Tag Archives: Horrible Histories

Horrible Histories: Top 50 Villains by Terry Deary


Horrible Histories: Top 50 Villains by Terry Deary, paperback non-fiction, 141 pages, published by Scholastic Ltd in 2016.

Top 50 Villains is a special edition in the Horrible Histories series, detailing fifty of the vilest villains from across all periods of history, including American gangsters, Mongol Warriors and Roman Emperors.

I’m a huge fan of this series, and I love reading all the foul facts. This book was quite interesting, with a couple of pages dedicated to each criminal, including a portrait of each. There is also some more general information about villainy through the ages scattered among the mini biographies.

I would have liked a little more depth about each person, but for the intended age group, it is quite a good taster. It introduces some of the most notorious people in history (and a few I hadn’t heard of!) to middle and upper primary school children, hopefully inciting them to undertake a little of their own research to find out more about their favourite crooks.

This book has been produced in full glossy colour, bringing the illustrations to life. I find the pictures to be darkly humorous, but perfectly suited to the style of the book. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed in the poor quality of binding on this book, with some of the pages coming loose on its second read.


Horrible Histories: The Big Fat Christmas Book by Terry Deary


IMG_5904Horrible Histories: The Big Fat Christmas Book by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown, hardback, 159 pages, published by Scholastic Ltd. in 2014.

Come on a journey through the twelve days of Christmas Horrible Histories style!

This book is divided into sections for each of the twelve days of Christmas from the 25th of December through to the 5th of January. Each part is dedicated to a different aspect of Christmas, such as food, animals, royals, games and weather. It covers many eras in history, from the Stone Age through to more recent history. Each section also contains some information on something that happened in history on that particular day.

There is a lot to learn in this interesting and entertaining non-fiction book for primary school students. The Horrible Histories series makes learning history fun, and this Christmas book is particularly good. I had no idea that Christmas was such a popular time for bad things to happen in the past! There are be-headings, ghosts, wars, storms and other amazing historical events to read about. It is made more fun through the use of anecdotes, comics, plays and illustrations.

With Christmas coming up, now’s a great time to sit down and read a good Christmas book, and this one really is fun. It’s a must for any Horrible Histories fan!

Horrible Histories: Horribly Hilarious Joke Book by Terry Deary


IMG_5394Horrible Histories: Horribly Hilarious Joke Book by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown and Philip Reeve, paperback, 86 pages, published by Scholastic Ltd in 2009.

This is a collection of historical jokes, just right for middle to upper primary school students. The book is divided into sections based on the popular Horrible Histories books, such as jokes from the Groovy Greeks or the Incredible Incas. Many of the jokes were rather cringe-worthy and perfect for “Dad Jokes”, so I laughed a lot, and so did my kids. There are plenty of black and white illustrations to make you laugh too! It is a rather short book with only a few jokes on each page, so it was a quick read, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. We quite like this sort of humour in our house!

Horrible Histories: Wicked Words by Terry Deary


IMG_4953Horrible Histories: Wicked Words by Terry Deary and illustrated by Philip Reeve, paperback non-fiction, 191 pages, first published by Scholastic Ltd in 1996, this edition published in 2011.

Learn about the origins of the English language in this witty and engaging book from the Horrible Histories series.

Horrible Histories makes learning history lots of fun, and Wicked Words is no exception. I enjoyed it from start to finish, and learnt quite a number of things along the way! It includes history of the development of English as a language, from when Romans ruled Britain through to modern times. It also explains various facets of the language. There is information about words borrowed from other languages, and about the idiosyncrasies that litter the English language. You can learn about onomatopoeia, euphemisms, riddles, slang, spelling, grammar and important people in the world of words, among many other things that make English the language it is today. There are plenty of jokes as well as some word games that could be fun to play. My kids thought the ‘knock, knock’ jokes were terrible, but they still laughed!

Wicked Words is illustrated throughout with comic-like black and white drawings. These help to explain the text, while breaking it up and making it more light-hearted and fun to read. Some of these illustrations are very clever and funny.

Full of facts and insights into the development of the English language, Wicked Words is a fascinating read for middle primary school students and up. I really enjoyed reading this book and felt that I learnt plenty about words in the process!


Horrible Histories: Angry Aztecs by Terry Deary and Martin Brown


IMG_0855Horrible Histories: Angry Aztecs by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown, paperback non-fiction novel, 138 pages, first published by Scholastic Ltd. in 1997, this edition published in 2008.

This is a book that tackles the perception of history being boring, and re-invigorates it in a format perfect for children thirsty for knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed this informative look at the Aztecs, how they lived and how they died, including all the nasty bits, such as human sacrifices, violent ball games and dogs for dinner. There was information on the Aztecs’ neighbours, enemies and the Spanish Conquistadors, their diets, priests and marriages.

Angry Aztecs is full of historical facts that were easy to understand, and presented alongside amusing black and white drawings. As well as allowing easier visualisation of parts of the Aztecs’ history, the illustrations included some comics to help elucidate various points being made in the text. There were also engaging quizzes that assisted in consolidating the knowledge acquired throughout the book

A very definitely not boring insight into the peoples of this interesting empire of the Americas, this is a good read for middle and upper primary school children, especially those interested in history or other cultures. It is on my second-grader’s ‘to read’ list, along with many other titles from his fantastic series. Everyone needs some Horrible Histories in their lives!

Horrible Histories: Terrible Trenches by Terry Deary and Martin Brown


IMG_0831Horrible Histories: Terrible Trenches by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown, paperback non-fiction, 93 pages, this edition published by Scholastic Australia in 2014.

This book is packed full of facts about living through the First World War, presented in an interesting and engaging fashion. The illustrations are illuminating, and often amusing, while educating young minds as to the life soldiers faced in the trenches. The book was divided into two sections, covering both sides of the war. The first section is about the British soldiers, and the second about the German soldiers. It was nice to have both sides presented without the bias often seen in other history texts.

This was a very appealing non-fiction title suitable for primary age school children. History can often be presented in a bland and boring way to children, but this Horrible Histories book is certainly neither of those. Lots of black and white illustrations and comic scenes entertain and educate, as well as lightening the subject matter, and dispersing the text, making it easier for younger kids to read.

I enjoyed reading this book and learning from it. Reading about the different weapons, the uniforms, food and slang used in the trenches was very interesting and enlightening. My second-grader is also enjoying this book. We will definitely be looking for more Horrible Histories titles to read soon!