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Escape from Pompeii

Escape from Pompeii

Author: Balit, Christina.

Publisher: Henry Holt, 2003

ISBN: 0805073248 (alk. paper)

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Editorial Reviews From Syndetics


Featuring a rich assemblage of patterns and textures and a pleasing palette of earth tones and variegated blues, Balit's (Atlantis: The Legend of a Lost City) three-quarter spread illustrations dominate this vivid story about the destruction of Pompeii. As the tale opens, a youth named Tranio gazes from his window at Vesuvius, ironically described as Pompeii's "greatest protector... the Gentle Mountain." Through Tranio's eyes, Balit introduces the city's bustling harbor, where merchants and fisherman unload their ships; the forum, where politicians deliver speeches and poets perform; and a theater, where Tranio's father and other masked actors rehearse a pantomime. At this last site, Tranio feels tremors and rushes out into the chaotic street, and sees the air fill with ash. He and his friend Livia climb aboard a Greek cargo ship, where, "in one terrible endless moment, they heard mighty Mount Vesuvius roar. Its top exploded in a scream, and flames ripped upward to the sky." From a safe distance, the two watch molten liquid flow down the mountain into the city and destroy "everything and everyone they had ever loved." A conclusion presents Tranio and Livia many years later as they stand on the once-again fertile mountainside, portrayed in cross-section to show the city, and the people, buried beneath. A dramatic, visually exciting look at a cataclysmic event. Ages 6-9. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Christina Balit has received widespread acclaim for her children's book illustrations. Her childhood in the Middle East influenced many of the Biblical landscapes found in this book. She now lives in the UK.
" And then, in one terrible endless moment, they heard mighty Mount Vesuvius roar. Its top exploded in a scream, and flames ripped upward to the sky. A massive cloud of silver ash rose to the heavens, twisting and bubbling in every direction until everything was in total darkness." 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 harbor, 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 oftheir beloved city, Pompeii. Christina Balit's fictional tale is based on the latest research. With her dramatic illustrations and a historical note, this story makes an exciting introduction to a fascinating subject.