Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - The Jericho River

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review - The Jericho River

About the Book
Author David Carthage has written The Jericho River, a young adult novel that uses fantasy to teach the history of Western Civilization, including its roots in the ancient Middle East.

Young Jason Gallo is thrown into a magical world shaped by myth and history, where he pursues a dangerous quest to rescue his father. He must travel along the Jericho River, which flows like a timeline, carrying the young man through historic lands like Sumer, Ancient Greece, Napoleon’s Europe, and many others—all in chronological order. Along the way, Jason battles minotaurs and pirates, flees barbarians, stumbles into mummies’ tombs, and outwits fairies, philosophers, and scientists.

The story traces the history of Western Civilization, starting at the very beginning: in the ancient Fertile Crescent.
Powerful Educational Tool

* Dynamic Use of Fantasy & Story: So many students remember the details of Harry Potter’s world better than those of any history. Through fantasy and story, The Jericho River gives history the sense of adventure and fun that makes young adult novels memorable.

* Cognitive Map of History: The Jericho River creates a chronological map of history in readers’ minds. Such a map plays a vital role in understanding the past because it gives context to history. With that context, readers can make sense of the history they already know and the history they learn later, and remember it.

* Power of Familiar Images: The book focuses on familiar images, like centaurs, pyramids, knights, and genies. Many readers know these icons but don’t connect them with any particular society. By placing the familiar in context, The Jericho River further enhances memory of history.

The Jericho River also offers a host of surprising insights into the origins of today’s world. Here are just a few:

  • The story of Moses may be an early case of “copyright infringement.” Sargon of Akkad was a Semitic king who built a Mesopotamian empire in the mid-2300’s BCE. A thousand years before the Hebrews told of baby Moses floating down the Nile, Sargon claimed to be the son of a noble priestess who floated him down the Euphrates River in a basket, to be raised by strangers.
  • The ancients saw cherubs as fearsome creatures with four wings, oxen’s feet, and four faces: a man’s, a bull’s, a lion’s, and an eagle’s. Some think the Devil himself was a cherub. Cherubs didn’t become cute until recent centuries, when Westerners confused them with winged babies in Renaissance art, called putti.
  • In Classical Greek athletic contests, men competed gymnos, meaning naked, giving us the word “gymnasium”.
  • The Turks introduced coffee to Europe in the late 1400’s. But Westerners thought it was the Devil’s brew, according to legend, until 1600, when Pope Clement VIII found he liked it and literally baptized it.

This remarkable tale also reveals the truth about Cleopatra, King Arthur, and the “fall” of the Roman Empire. It explains how Snow White began as a promiscuous goddess and why Eve was created from Adam’s rib. And it uncovers the origins of the cat and of chivalry, the Internet, the Atlantis myth, and much more.

The Jericho River offers a fun way to learn for teens and also for adults who’d like to know more history. It features twenty-six historically accurate illustrations of landmarks, mythical creatures, technologies, and people from the past.

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My Take on the Book
This was an amazing book that brings out so many facts and factoids that I would have no idea about if I had not read this. As a person who enjoys history, this book makes history come alive and jump out. As I was reading this book I came to find that I did not want to put it down as on every page there seemed to be something new that I was learning! What was best about this book was that the author placed all of this fact into a novel and made history fun to read and experience. So hold on to your hat and be ready for a fun ride as this book will take you on an adventure that you will not forget!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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