Parent Review: Horrible Histories – The Incredible Incas

Parent Review: Horrible Histories - The Incredible Incas 
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Learning about different subjects such as History or Science doesn’t need to be a dreary affair. The “Horrible” series introduces historic and science facts in fun ways like stories, hilarious drawings, quizzes, peppered with facts to young readers. Suitable for children ages 9 and up (with parental supervision), the Horrible Histories and Horrible Science series are a welcome addition to bookshelves. 

Blood-curdling Box of Books
Image Credit: Amazon.sg

Our 9 year old started the “Horrible” series about a year back. He was fascinated by the facts and even quizzed his poor parents on facts about the British monarchy, the most poisonous creatures and timelines we never knew. 


Horrible Histories – The Incredible Incas Review: The Antithesis to Textbooks

Horrible Histories - The Incredible Incas Review

Author Terry Deary (yes what a pen name) and illustrator Philip Reeve are behind the Horrible Histories series. They make a brilliant pair with both text and pictures which “edu-tain” readers. My son had a good time laughing when reading the book while reading all about Incas. If only school textbooks resembled Horrible Histories – that would make learning more fun, memorable and send grades soaring. (I suspect)

The Incredible Incas is all about the Incas and how they bullied, no words minced there, and were in turn bullied by the Spanish invaders. The book starts with a timeline, then chapters with “Legendary Lords”, “Evil Emperors”, how the Incas lived, their religion and end with a quiz. 

Facts are kept simple and easy to digest. Since the readers are children, they would remember the horrible details which are usually presented in a hilarious and punny way. 


Parent Advisory for Horrible Histories

Parents Advisory for Horrible Histories

It is important that parents provide some guidance on Horrible Histories: Incredible Incas. As with history, there is bound to be bloodshed and war. There are no words minced. For instance, when the Incas defeated the Chancas, “they stuffed their skins with straw and ashes”. This is blood-curdling in my opinion, but my son didn’t even flinch probably because he has not understood the magnitude of goriness. 

There were also certain portions about kings or lords taking on (too) many wives including their very own sisters. Topics such as child/human sacrifice are also mentioned. Hence parental guidance is advised.


Learning about Ancient Civilisations in an Engaging Way

Learning about Ancient Civilizations in an Engaging Way

Although the Horrible Histories series are books, the content almost leaps out at readers. I learnt plenty myself and was eager to read more. Did you know the Incas treated headaches with a hole between the eyes? 

For more severe headaches, a hole is drilled into the skull (for evil spirits to be let out)! Archaeologists have found skulls with pieces removed and patients who survived. It is really intriguing that such complex medical processes could be carried out without the aid of modern-day technology. 

Other Inca “beauty tips” include washing hair in brewed pee and then setting it with pee. There are plenty of other hair-raising facts which readers will find rather peculiar. 

I found the stories of the Incas fascinating and there were very similarities with today’s society. Laws, hierarchy and social conventions still exist. Young readers may count themselves fortunate compared to the Inca children who were expected to help with chores, weave or herd llamas. 


Horrible Histories – Edutainment in Pages

I would recommend the Horrible Histories books in a heartbeat. Your child’s mind will be expanded learning so much about history, hopefully appreciating what they have now. I am sure plenty of the facts will stick. There are many other books to explore like the Angry Aztecs, Smashing Aztecs, Rotten Romans and Barmy British Empire. Get your copy here. You can also get a set of Horrible Histories Foiled Classic Editions here.

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