11/1/05 Library Media Connection
Each of the thoroughly researched volumes in this series is a high interest choice for the low reading level audience. Gladiators: Battling in the Arena; Ninjas: Masters of Stealth and Secrecy; Knights: Warriors of the Middle Ages; Vikings: Raiders and Explorers; and Samurai: Warlords of Japan made up the series at the time of review. Each volume traces the rise of the warrior profession, weapons, method of operation and codes of conduct, place in society, decline, and impact on today. All volumes include an index, glossary, further reading suggestions, and resources, including current Web sites. The ThinkQuest Web site mentioned in Samurai: Warlords of Japan even includes a simulation of attacks on three Japanese castles: Osaka, Wakayama, and Himeji. Each volume catches the reluctant reader's attention by introducing the warrior lifestyle with an active battle scenario. Books are structured with large font, blue subheadings, and red chapter headings on a gray background. Almost every double page spread has color illustrations or sidebars featuring relevant terms and information. This series is a solid purchase, both for the lower grades, and for reluctant or less able readers in upper grades.