Umm El Madayan: An Islamic City Through the Ages

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9780395659670: Umm El Madayan: An Islamic City Through the Ages

The development of a fictional city, seen in panoramic art spreads and detailed drawings, reflects the evolutionary pattern of many Islamic cities on Africa's Mediterranean coast, from Phoenician times to the present.

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Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5 Up-The story of a fictional North African city throughout 14 stages of history is revealed in words and intricately detailed black-and-white drawings, in a style reminiscent of David Macaulay's work. Thousands of years ago, hunter-gatherers begin to inhabit a region on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. By the year 2,000 B.C., a fortified village has sprung to life; Phoenician traders are the first to establish a city on the site. In the seventh century A.D., Islamic conquerers capture it, naming it Umm El Madayan. The city becomes a thriving commercial, educational, and religious center whose "Golden Age" occurs in the 16th and 17th centuries. At present, Umm El Madayan struggles to maintain a sense of its past while coping with the complexities of modern life. Each brief chapter includes a two-page spread showing an overview of the region; the changes over the centuries are fascinating. In the second two-page spread, a small version of the overview is placed on the left, with significant areas shadowed in black. Larger illustrations on the right often depict important buildings, with cutaways revealing interior views. The text is crammed across the top in fine print, with little or no white space between words and pictures. Although the drawings are spectacularly detailed, specific features are labeled with tiny numbers that are difficult to see. The overall effect is crowded and a little overwhelming. Many specialized terms are used in the text, but not always defined. Despite these problems, the book provides an informative window into a place and time that will be unfamiliar to many young readers.
Mary Jo Drungil, Niles Public Library District, IL
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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