About the book: Travel back in time to the days of the Roman Empire and join Tranio, the son of an actor, and his friend Livia, the baker’s daughter, in witnessing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. Tranio, like most Roman boys, likes to watch whatever is going on: tradesmen selling their goods, ships unloading their exotic cargoes, politicians making speeches in the forum. But one hot August day a very different scene unfolds.
The ground begins to shake, the sky to darken. People run gasping for air. Heading for the harbour, Tranio and his friend Livia hide on a boat and witness one of the most terrifying moments in recorded history-the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of their beloved city, Pompeii.
Reasons for selection: The Romans is a popular historical topic for lower junior pupils to study, and volcanoes often form part of work linked to geography. This story brings the eruption of the volcano to life through the eyes of a child at the time making it relevant to young readers. There is much that can be gleaned from the story about life in Pompeii at the time by following Tranio through a typical day. The terror of the eruption of brought to life through Christina Balit’s use of language and image.
About Take One Book: The books in the Take One Book collection can be used in conjunction with the Take One Book website, or independently. Take One Book is Just Imagine’s programme for teaching reading and English using high quality literature. You can find further information and free exemplar units on the Take One Book website takeonebook.org
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