ESCAPE FROM POMPEII
Written and illustrated by Christina Balit published 2003, Francis Lincoln Publishers and Henry Holt USA
For a Roman boy called Tranio, 24th August is a day he will never forget. As the ground shakes, the sky darkens and everyone around him runs gasping for air, he and his friend Livia flee to the harbor and witness the destruction of everything they know and love, in one of the most terrifying moments of recorded history.”
I was fascinated by Pompeii – there was something so compelling about an entire city captured forever under pumice and lava during a single moment of time, so I was delighted to be allowed to write and illustrate this story. It was essential however that my ‘children’ in the story survived the eruption for, not to do so, would be just too sad. Also after painting quite a lot of ‘bright’ books I was very keen to use a muted palette for this one. I was, in fact, taken to visit Pompeii as a very little person. Apparently, during their visit, my parents lost me for a brief period of time in the ruins. I have no memory of this. They are, of course, forgiven.
“Featuring a rich assemblage of patterns and textures and a pleasing palette of earth tones and variegated blues, Balit's three-quarter spread illustrations dominate this vivid story about the destruction of Pompeii. A dramatic, visually exciting look at a cataclysmic event.”
“Apart from this being a wonderful book to own in its own right, it would also be a great addition in a primary classroom when they are studying the Romans. Lots of teachers choose to read Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries to their classes and this would be a fabulous complement to that, letting children see what happened, and the story is enhanced by the illustrations to make a rich sensory experience.”