Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame

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  • Reviewed on Thursday, March 10, 2011
  • Grades Used: 2nd-8th
  • Dates used: 2008-present
I wholeheartedly agree with Susan Martucci's review of this wonderful book. We ordered it when our son started 6th grade.

The boy in the story Anthony, is a twelve year old who ownd a magic picture frame that allows him (and your child) to step back in time and witness history first-hand. I do admit that the premise sounds a bit childish for 6th-12th grade students.

When it arrived both of my children, who are four years apart, spend two full hours just looking at it and begged me to "do History". They are a boy and a girl as well, so having them interested in the same thing is very rare.

Oh and the recommendations for movies, books and music- there are hundreds. We bought this in 2008 and still we haven't finished studying it thoroughly.

We are secular homeschoolers so I wasn't pleased with the bible scripture and god references. But I still wouldn't give this book up for the world and it is very hard to find non religious curricula. Just thought I'd mention it so everyone is aware of it.

Susan Martucci

  • Reviewed on Monday, November 14, 2005
  • Grades Used: late middle - high school
  • Dates used:
This book is an amazing resource for US history from the past 125 years. Each chapter is its own story with Anthony visiting real people and taking part in real events from US history. Anthony tells the events from a first person point of view and suddenly boring old history is transformed into an exciting adventure story and yet - the story is not fiction it is real. Each chapter has incredible photographs. Many of the photos are familiar or famous photos with Anthony in the picture. Several of the photos were extremely powerful and moving. My kids found some fun "hidden" treasures in a lot of the pictures - but they are still looking for more. The chapters are filled with direct quotes from the historical individuals and the author has reference notes to the original sources for each quote. When I went back to look at the notes, I found so much more than just footnotes referencing sources. What I found was almost a second book following the adventure story. The hundreds of references explain tidbits of history, context for the quoted material and hidden recommendations for additional resources in order to delve more deeply into a particular topic. Some recommendations are hidden in the notes section, but there is a third section to the book called "Anthony Recommends". In this section, there are hundreds of books, movies, music and places recommended for the person interested in a deeper look at any of the topics. I am using this book as a spine for a homeschool history course targeted for high schoolers. For each chapter, they read the story and discuss the photographs and then they each get to pick some additional resources from the recommended materials to extend the study. With so many book and movie recommendations, each student can extend the topic in a more personal way that keeps his or her interest and appeals to his or her learning style. I printed the final exam from the author's website and the students have used the test as a pre-test to see how little they know now and they will use it at the end of their journey through the book as a post test to see how much they have learned. This book is a real treasure. The reading level is late middle school through high school and beyond, but younger kids would definitely enjoy the chapters and photos as a read-aloud story.