The Humans: Ancient civilisations and astonishing things they taught us

The Humans: Ancient civilisations and astonishing things they taught us

By Author / Illustrator

Jonny Marx, Charlie Davis


Non Fiction

Age range(s)



Little Tiger Press Group








SHORTLISTED FOR THE BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD 2021.  This book showcases the greatest achievements of ancient civilisations, peoples and iconic figures from history. From the Nubians to the Native Americans, and the Akkadians to the Aztecs, our predecessors have pioneered a plethora of wonderful and wacky inventions, technologies and practices. They've constructed monumental buildings and sprawling cities, created languages, modes of transport, art, medicines, music, stories, myths and more.

Let's delve into the past and discover what humankind accomplished in the centuries and millennia since the first civilisations were formed...



The Humans is a beautifully illustrated volume of history, specifically ancient civilisations, from across the world. It is a sort of 'this is what the past has given us' book, showing all the great achievements in art, medicine, architecture, stories, language and much, much more. It is mankind's greatest achievements, displayed by continent, from 50,000BCE- Australian Aboriginals to 1325 CE- Aztecs.

I have a personal love of ancient history, but looking at this book I realise the civilisations I don't know about, some not even by name. I've never heard of the Akkadians before (234BCE) who laid the foundations of what was to become Babylon. I did not know about the Mauryans from India in 321BCE, with their might army of 600,000 soldiers and 9,000 war elephants. I knew a bit about the Mongols, but you rarely see them featured in a children's book.

This book is both fascinating and lovely to look at. It is large, A3 sized, but the pages are more picture than dense text. Each spread has little sections with headings, like Tools, Art etc and a fascinating little section called Did You Know? So, did you know that meditation is over 5000 years old? Archaeologists discovered murals that depicted people meditating. There is also a globe to show where in the world this civilisation existed.

The colours on each page are rich and varied and the illustrations by Charlie Davis, strike the right balance between setting the scene whilst not trying to be a photo.

This is a book to be savoured; picked up again and again and looked at. My seven-year-old instantly took it out of my hands and spent time studying the page about the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. As the text is manageable, even for this age group, she was able to read and understand it and it strikes exactly the right tone for a children's book that spans so much time and richness.

64 pages / Ages 7-adult / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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