BOOK REVIEW: Archers, Alchemists, and 98 Other Medieval Jobs You Might Have Loved or Loathed

My son was assigned this book to read in his Build Your Library curriculum and, as is most all the books assigned with this curriculum, this turned out to be a great read!

It is a picture book, sort of…in that it has a picture book feel…but it has a whole lot more content in it than your typical picture book.

The illustrations and content gave me a bit of a feel of the “You Wouldn’t Want to Be…” series, though with a lot more text and less of a comic book-y feel. (And without the humor…but it’s still very good reading!)

The book is full of fascinating info about what life was like during medieval times, specifically, the jobs all sorts of people had and what they were like. It’s broken into chapters of different types of jobs:

  • Bread and Butter Jobs
  • Religious Jobs
  • Castle Jobs
  • Wonder Workers’ Jobs
  • Life and Death Jobs
  • Sit-Down Jobs
  • Artistic Jobs
  • Dirty Jobs
  • Law and Order Jobs
  • Traveling Jobs

Each chapter has 10 or more jobs in it and each job is described in details in a few paragraphs. Short and sweet, easy to get the gist of without going into too many details and getting too wordy. Just right for kids and those that just want to get a general overview.

Captivating illustrations throughout as well that help to expand on the topics being discussed and make things more interesting!

I love how this is broken down into bitesize sections, but not so many little sections that you don’t know what to read first or where to go next. (Like some of the illustrated children’s encyclopedias can be…they make me feel overwhelmed with just too many little bits of info all over the place! That’s not how this book is.) It’s easy to see where the flow is, easy to read in sections, and then bookmark and come back and read more another day. It is not a book you could read in one sitting. There’s a LOT of info in here!

I like how the beginning of the book first explains the time period by going into the structure of how medieval society was set up with the feudal system. Also how it talks about historically significant things like the “Dark Ages” and a timeline of how some of the different important historical events of the time period fit in, like The Plague, the Crusades, and Columbus.

I highly recommend this! Great reading to enrich any lessons on medieval times!! My 15yr old really enjoyed it and said “It was really interesting!”

I plan to purchase a copy for my personal library. It seems like it would be a great book to have as a reference book to have on hand. Fascinating stuff!

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