“The Children of Herculaneum”, by Carol Krueger (A Book Review, by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp)

Herc FY

“The Children of Herculaneum” is the most recently  published book by New Zealand mother of eight and long time drama teacher and author for children, Carol Krueger. This well-presented text with colourful photographs and an exciting fast-paced story, stands out from other children’s novels in that it brings alive, for kids, the events relating to the erruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24th 79 AD.   An epilogue at the end of the novel has pictures and a child-friendly text describing the reality of the events that took place, as well as the excavations nearly two thousand years later, which tell us about the lives of the people who lived in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Personally, I love Classical history, which I studied at High School and University.  Prior to this, however, I didn’t know much about ancient Greece or Rome.  Books which ignite an interest in such history for our younger readers are few and far between.

Our seven and eight year old children have read “The Children of Herculaneum” and thoroughly enjoyed it.    Some of their comments on Krueger’s text were as follows:

“I like how the story is told by Portia the slave girl, who is just an ordinary kid, but because of when she lived she had to be a slave.”

“It was interesting that the water fountains dried up and the mice ran away and the donkey had to be blindfolded because he was upset… the nature and animals knew there was going to be an exploding volcano way before the humans did.”

“Portia’s owners’ daughter, Claudia, was spoilt and mean… the characters really seem like real people.”

“The bit about Julius, the boy who is an actor and wears masks on the stage, is really interesting.”

Personally, I like the quotation on page 19 about acting:

“…I love to act, there is nothing like it.  You stand on the stage and suddenly you’re in another world.  And you can FEEL the audience.”

This is certainly true of Carol Krueger, who loves acting and teaching drama as well as writing and history.

LC FY

Author, drama teacher and mother of eight Carol Krueger, dressed as “a woman from ancient Herculaneum” for a recent play.

Anyone interested in purchasing copies of “The Children of Herculaneum” can contact Carol Krueger on 0224557805 or on Facebook.  Prices are $10 for a soft cover edition or $15 for hard cover.

To learn more about Carol Krueger’s drama lessons (which are for both children and adults), please call the same number and also read our article about her (link below).

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/delightfully-dramatic-the-benefits-to-our-kids-of-being-involved-in-theatre-an-interview-with-drama-teacher-carol-krueger/

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