The I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis offers a quick glimpse into events in history that were somewhat difficult and not everyone survived. In her latest novel, I Survived: The Destruction of Pompeii, she takes the reader all the way back to 79 AD and the explosion of Mount Vesuvius. As told from the eyes of eleven year Marcus, a slave in household of Festus of Pompeii, the reader gets a firsthand account of the days leading up to the eruption of that silent giant. There are tremors and rumblings that set the people on edge for the end of the world, because they don’t really understand what is about to happen. Then there is Marcus’ scientifically minded father, Tata, who knows exactly what is going on and is determined to make sure they get to somewhere safe before Pompeii is buried.
This latest installment of the I Survived Series is another great introduction to a very specific event and time period. While Tarshis is a great storyteller and the reader gets the feel of what it might have been like as a slave in a Roman controlled city, it is just a glimpse of a couple of days and from one perspective. This would be a great book to open a discussion of the Roman time period for ages seven through eleven and to ignite their curiosity of what it might have been like from other perspectives.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic
Violence/Gore: A few mentions of gladiators and how they fight to the death; mention of how slaves were beaten; character pushed so that he falls and hits his head; character throws a poisonous snake at another; description of chaos and destruction caused by volcano exploding, including people being trampled and a boulder killing a man.
Mature Subject Matter:
Slavery, natural disaster, death.
Alcohol / Drug Use: