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Famous Family Trees

This beautifully presented children’s hardback book is a fascinating look at history through the family tree. Shakespeare, Cleopatra, and Genghis Khan are three of the people on the front cover whose time in history will be explored. Their stories are directed by their predecessors. The time period covers people who lived from 100 BC to AD 2013, and ranges across many different cultures. It is also remarkable that some such as Gandhi influenced Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.

A brief summary is given of the person whose family tree is pictured. An outline of Julius Caesar’s achievements and death show what a master he was.  Interesting facts are presented. With Julius Caesar, his surname became a title of royalty that translated to Czar in Russia, and Kaiser in Germany. He was very renowned for his water crossings. One of his armies built the first ever bridge over the River Rhine.

Wolfgang Mozart is given the same double page spread in this book. A short summary of his life is given, followed by facts about him. The illustrations show him as a small child playing in front of a royal audience. We are told that he began writing and performing music at five years of age. Interestingly, Mozart’s family were farmers in Bavaria. His father, who was a skilled musician, left the farm and became a musician, while his grandfather on his mother’s side, was also a musician.

Ned Kelly’s story is briefly told with interesting facts to the fore. The area in Victoria where he was raised was settled by many Irish convicts and free settlers. His family were well known to police, but after Ned’s death, they moved towards respectability, and were incognito until 130 years later, when Ned was reburied next to his mother.

Many famous people feature in this interesting book. It is intended to whet the appetite for more information about characters of interest, and it succeeds in this. The layout is conducive for children to browse through the book, survey the illustrations and discover a hero or villain. A whole page is given over to the drawing of the family tree itself, with a few facts, and the life story of each character on the other page, is brief and succinct.

Author Kari Hauge and illustrated by Vivien Mildenberger
Publisher Frances Lincoln Children's Books
ISBN 9781786032973
Distributor Murdoch Books
Released October 2018