on 14 October 2012
Published a year ago, this is the ideal choice for youngsters who developed an interest in the Games this summer.
The book comes in a 32-page picture book format, and you could imagine that a Story of the Olympics could be quite dense, trying to pack centuries of history into 13 spreads. You'd be quite wrong, however, and the book's strength lies in its selective approach, offering details while accepting that it doesn't need to cover everything that could possibly be known about the Olympics. Typically for Richard Brassey, there is a surprising amount of information on offer here using the minimum amount of text possible, together with quirky illustrations. Brassey has a real talent for selecting the facts most likely to appeal to his child readers, and illustrating them with delightfully realistic comic strip images.
There are spreads on particular aspects of the Olympics - Ancient Games, the marathon, women, politics - and snippets about each of the Modern Games, often homing in on particular athletes. The book closes with information about the London Games and 2016's Games in Rio de Janeiro.
I would recommend this for quite a wide age range. The material is intrinsically interesting (and very well-selected), and presented in a way that would not patronise or exclude older readers. I can see beginner readers enjoying this with an adult and children into secondary school still enjoying it.