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Cover: Wretched Ruins

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Wretched Ruins

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The remains of ancient civilizations hold the keys to the fascinating histories of vanished cultures and their many secrets. Are these places still haunted by long-past tragedies? In this title, readers will glimpse abandoned ruins such as Machu Picchu, Peru, known as the Lost City of the Incas. In 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham discovered this deserted city high in the Andes Mountains after it had been forgotten for 400 years. The beautiful remnants of the city included about 200 stone buildings. But what had happened to the people of Machu Picchu? Why did they simply vanish? No one can say for sure. The mysteries of the 11 desolate places featured in this book will keep young readers turning the pages wanting more and more.

 
Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 4
BISACS JNF052030
Genre Nonfiction, Great for Hi-Lo Readers, Narrative Nonfiction
Copyright 2010
Publisher Bearport Publishing
Series Scary Places
Language English
Number of Pages 32
ISBN 9781936087556, 9781936088652, 9780982476260
Title Format Reinforced book, Hosted eBook, Savings Bundle
Dewey 930.1
Dimensions 8 x 10
ATOS Reading Level 5.4
Lexile Reading Level 840
Scholastic Reading Counts Level 4.5
Author Steven L. Stern
 

Wretched Ruins

The topics of the Scary Places series may seem familiar—castles, cemeteries, haunted houses—but the format elicits a surprisingly expansive reach. Each book is divided into 11 two-page spreads, and while this doesn’t allow for a lot of depth, it does inspire the authors to cycle through tons of subjects—and the lesser-known ones are fascinating. Dark Labyrinths makes a case that the mostly underground mazes of humankind were, for the most part, designed for safety purposes. From the underground city of Derinkuyu, Turkey (which could have housed as many as 100,000); to the salt-mine cathedral in Wieliczka, Poland; to the booby-trapped tunnels used in the Vietnam War, this is a compendium of creepy claustrophobia that might even inspire a few family sojourns. Wretched Ruins has a number of the usual suspects (Machu Picchu, Stonehenge, Easter Island) and occasionally stretches the meaning of the word ruins (are the desert drawings of Nazca, Peru, really ruins?). But what it does well is communicate the awe of discovery—readers will feel the thrill of being there at the explanation of the Mayan city of Tikal and the shock at seeing the tombs carved into the cliffs of Petra, Jordan. Ghostly legends are often granted asides, and the solid back matter includes a world map that shows the impressive global scope of each volume.

Wretched Ruins

Dark Labyrinths explores the creepiness of underground tunnels, shelters, and cities that have been long buried. Particularly compelling is Budapest’s ancient, naturally made tunnel system nicknamed the Labyrinth of Courage, which hid civilians during World War II. Other underground places described house ghosts, glowing worms, and, in Colorado Springs, a satellite tracking center to warn the United States of impending missile attacks. Wretched Ruins provides brief profiles of 11 sites, including some in Iraq, Peru, Jordan, Chile, and Greece. On each spread, a paragraph outlining the location and the ancient peoples who inhabited the area is superimposed on a full-page, grainy photograph. It faces a short history of the site’s discovery and possible explanations for its construction, juxtaposed with a close-up or detailed, clearer photo that further illustrates the place’s “wretchedness” or “mystery.” Some spreads include a factoid on theories such as the one that aliens built the Easter Island statues. A closing spread offers a world map that indicates each location. These eye-catching books will work well with reluctant readers and have enough shock value to inspire them to do further research.

Wretched Ruins

Dark Labyrinths explores the creepiness of underground tunnels, shelters, and cities that have been long buried. Particularly compelling is Budapest’s ancient, naturally made tunnel system nicknamed the Labyrinth of Courage, which hid civilians during World War II. Other underground places described house ghosts, glowing worms, and, in Colorado Springs, a satellite tracking center to warn the United States of impending missile attacks. Wretched Ruins provides brief profiles of 11 sites, including some in Iraq, Peru, Jordan, Chile, and Greece. On each spread, a paragraph outlining the location and the ancient peoples who inhabited the area is superimposed on a full-page, grainy photograph. It faces a short history of the site’s discovery and possible explanations for its construction, juxtaposed with a close-up or detailed, clearer photo that further illustrates the place’s “wretchedness” or “mystery.” Some spreads include a factoid on theories such as the one that aliens built the Easter Island statues. A closing spread offers a world map that indicates each location. These eye-catching books will work well with reluctant readers and have enough shock value to inspire them to do further research.

Index
Glossary of key words
Table of contents
Author/Illustrator biography
Detailed maps
Full-color photographs, Historical photographs, Full-color illustrations