Book talks for readers at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Swords by Ben Boos

Swords, by Ben Boos, is a book rich in illustrations. [look at pp. 9, 48-49, 60-61] For those of you who like to draw, this book can give you some terrific models to follow for drawing ancient weaponry. Besides that, though, I like the information tiles dispersed throughout the book. Here's an example of one describing how wild boar were once hunted in Europe by using a sword:

"Dangerous Game. Some of the animals hunted in the dense European woods were quite dangerous, including the wild boar, a large feral pig. Especially brave hunters of these tusked beasts favored the sword as a weapon of choice. It surely would have been easier to use a bow or a spear, but hunting boars with a sword was considered sporting [like the idea of "fair chase" hunters abide by today]. It must have taken great skill to fight these beasts at such close range while avoiding being gored by their fearsome tusks. Boars were said to have such bloodlust that, once provoked, they would willingly impale themselves up to the hunter's sword hilt just to get in close enough to deal the hunter a deadly blow." p.22.

I'll read that last part again. Can you believe that?

[show son's wooden sword] What is a sword hilt? Do you know what the other parts are called? What part do think is the cruciform? Where do find the tang on a sword? Where do you find the blood groove on some swords? How are swords made?

There are a few mysteries about swords. Old Norse or Viking legends said that if you blew on the blade of a Viking sword an image of a snake would appear. Some Viking swords have been discovered that have parts for which the exact purpose remains a mystery.

You may think this is a quick read, but that depends on how much you get hooked into looking at the detail of all the swords presented in, Swords, by Ben Boos.

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