Terry Deary wastes no time in letting his readers know that the "Cut-Throat Celts" is designed to inform them of the interesting bits of history including the gory detail which their teacher might leave out. Historic Celtic customs such as Druidic sacrifice (as depicted on the front cover of this Horrible Histories title) provides plenty of scope to provide such facts. Humour is the vehicle which allows Deary to present this potentially blood curdling information to children in an unoffensive way. It was this humorous series of children’s history books which really broke the mould and led to many imitators.
In fact this is a very informative history book which offers the opportunity for children to get more historically accurate detail than they might otherwise get from many other children’s history books. For example, Deary quotes from the classical sources where much of the darker material about the Celts is derived from and he acknowledges its bias.
There are 127 pages full of interesting history, witty commentary and black and white humorous cartoons (drawn by Martin Brown). It brings the Celts and their interaction with the Classical World to life through the following chapters which are quite broad in their scope: Timeline, Getting to know the Cut-Throat Celts, Lousy Legends, Batty Beliefs, Weird War, Woe for women, Crazy Celt life, Crime and punishment and Weird words. I would recommend this book to independent readers who are Primary School age and perhaps younger teenagers.
History book review: 14/06/09