Book Review: The Secrets of Stonehenge by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Archaeologist and parent blogger Claire Walsh has very kindly agreed to let us reblog her review of this children’s book about Stonehenge. For more from Claire visit

The secrets of stonehenge

Being an archaeologist I’m always on the lookout for great books on archaeology for children. We spend quite a lot of time visiting archaeological sites, so to come across a book about Stonehenge suitable for children was brilliant. We love Stonehenge and were lucky enough to visit it a few years ago at dawn and we even got to go inside the fence (which doesn’t exist now). I’ve been trying to interest the children in Stonehenge and this book is really helpful in trying to do that.

This book was written in conjunction with English Heritage experts and provides a child friendly, up to date interpretation. It covers a lot of the topics which experts have been puzzling over for years such as why the monument was erected and who lived there. All of this has been brought to life with the use of some brilliant illustrations. It really is a fantastic introduction to the site. I’d recommend that this book accompanied you on a trip there if you were planning a visit.

When the new National Curriculum comes into force in September there will be a section on prehistory. This means that this book will become a really helpful addition to your bookshelf. Given the enigmas of prehistory I’m sure that it will inspire as many questions as it answers!

If you want to find out more about Mick Manning and Brita Granstom have a look at their website. They have produced a wonderful selection of books, I for one will be ordering quite a few of them. You can order a copy of The Secrets of Stonehenge here.

Look out for more book reviews coming soon.

Littlenose the Hunter by John Grant, a book review

Littlenose the Hunter

Littlenose the Hunter

Littlenose the Hunter was first published in 1972 when the author had read some of his stories on Jackanory on the BBC. Other books followed, and a collection was republished in 2006 by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, London, with illustrations by Ross Collins that are a little informed by Manga.

Littlenose is a Neanderthal boy who gets on his dad’s nerves, sets the forest on fire and has a woolly mammoth for a best friend. The stories are funny and have plenty of familiar experiences that children could identify with, as well as exploring a very remote way of life.

Children will read about starting fires, catching fish, fording rivers, collecting plants for medicine, alongside fantasy elements such as friendly woolly mammoth and Bigfoot. There’s even a handy illustrated timeline in the back putting the series of adventures into context.The book is 120 pages long, divided into six stories that could be read on their own. There’s another story, Littlenose the Joker that’s not in the book, to watch on YouTube too.

In one story children will be rooting for the Neanderthal boy as he escapes from some Straightnoses (i.e. us, Homo sapiens) across a bog. This would give a teacher a way in to exploring the relationship between humans and Neanderthals. Who was scared of whom? Did they intermarry? Did Homo sapiens kill off Neanderthals? Would we consider Neanderthals to be humans if they were around today? This book is a great way to start children thinking about this very remote time.

Littlenose escaping from some Straightnoses (i.e. us)

Littlenose escaping from some Straightnoses (i.e. us)

This is the first of a series of book reviews of both popular archaeology books for teachers and children story books about prehistory. If you’d like to nominate a book, or even write a book review, let us know.