Peter Goes, Timeline: Science and Technology, Walker Books, October 2020, 80 pp., RRP $34.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781776573004
This large format (A3) illustrated book appears to have been originally published in the Netherlands, translated into English by Bill Nagelkirke, then published in New Zealand by Gecko Press before Walker Books brought it to Australia.
Despite its dull title, it is an interesting approach to the history of mankind, beginning with the Stone Ages and concluding with an account of the 21st century – to 2020. The text seems less important than the pictures, which are on double-page spreads with quirky figures building Stonehenge or printing presses, or whatever happened then. Tucked away in its fine print is information you are not likely to already know: Jang Yeong-Sil invented the water and rain gauges in the fifteenth century, Leon Foucoult ingeniously proved the Earth turned on its axis in the nineteenth. And the Chalcolithic Age and the Norte Chico civilizations were unknown to me despite Machu Picchu.
The whole book is likely to open new vistas for middle school readers. The information in it is European centred (although an Australian invention appears on the first page) but not seen from a British viewpoint. It is unusual, full of facts, and pictorially appealing.
Reviewed by Stella Lees