Monday, January 30, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Kubla Khan, The Emperor of Everything by Kathleen Krull

Kubla Khan: The Emperor of Everything
written by Kathleen Kroll, illustrated by Robert Byrd
Viking, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-670-01114-8
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from purchased copy.

BLURB: Always cast in a supporting role in the many books about Marco Polo, the great Kubla Khan now takes center stage in a splendid picture-book biography. He is a wonderful subject-a man who liked to live large, building the imperial city of Beijing from scratch, siring a hundred children, throwing birthday bashes for 40,000 guests. He ruled over the greatest empire of the time, one that was lightyears ahead of Western civilization in terms of the arts, sciences, and technology. With astonishingly beautiful and detailed illustrations by Robert Byrd and a clever text by Kathleen Krull, this portrait finally gives Kubla Khan his due.

I enjoy reading books about the past, but most of what I've read in both children's and adult books has focused on the American experience.  So I was thrilled to hear about this book.  Kubla Khan was a man of contradictions.  A just ruler under most conditions, his armies destroyed many villages, massacring any who refused to become part of Khan's growing empire.  It was interesting to read about Kubla's mother who was determined to have her children make a mark in the world and did everything in her power to provide them with a chance to do so. 

Clearly a man of great intelligence and leadership ability, Khan left a mark that can still be seen in Asia today.  One thing I found especially fascinating was how involved in his life, his mother, and second wife were.  In a time where women were seen as inferior and incompetent, these women had a big impact on Khan's life, personal and professional. The book is too long for a short read-a-loud, but there is plenty of detail for discussion.

The illustrations are very detailed as well as colorful and bright. The illustrations compliment the text beautifully. I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy reading about the world. 

Head on over to Wendie's Wanderings for more great Nonfiction Monday recommendations.


1 comment:

  1. This has been on my list for a while--reading your thoughts has made me want to actually get a hold of it now!

    ReplyDelete

 
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