Book Review: World War I for Kids: A History with 21 Activities


by R. Kent Rasmussen

Chicago: Chicago Review Press / Independent Publishers Group, 2014 . Pp. xii, 180. Illus., maps, tables, chron., gloss., notes, biblio, index. $17.95 paper. ISBN: 1613745567

An Introduction to the Great War for Young Readers

Rasmussen, who has written extensively about Ma rk Twain,  including Mark Twain for Kids , and produced many other works, including several references books, gives us a very good, well-illustrated introductory work about the First World War for young er readers. 

Rasmussen offers a credible outline history of the war in a dozen chapters.   He opens with an even-handed look at the origins of the war, followed by a chapter on the Western, one on the nature of trench warfare, and on titled “The Other Fronts,” a customary bias of English language works.  There follow chapters on the weapons of land warfare, the war at sea, the war in the air, animals in the war, the Home Fronts, and the United States and the war. He concludes with a chapter on the final campaigns of the war and one on its consequences. 

Each chapter includes one or two hands-on activities, such as writing a poem about the war, making a tube periscope or a parachute, cooking Macoochie stew, and even “Search for a Convoy”.   In addition, Rasmussen uses side bars, maps, pictures, and more to tell the story of the war, including the death and destruction, so as not to glamorize the tragedy.  

While some might quibble about many things left out, this is natural given the purpose of the book, and it is a n excellent introductory work for younger readers.

Note: World War I for Kids is a volume in the Chicago Review Press series “For Kids,” which runs to more than a dozen similar volumes, including ones on the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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