Take one riverside settlement during the Stone Age. The year is about 10,000 BC and a tribe has just found the place where they will spend the winter. The women are using digging sticks to unearth edible roots, some meat is drying for use during the cold months, and the tribe's priest is calling on the spirit of the forest to bless the new camp. There is activity everywhere.
Now take the same river, same place - but 8,000 years later. People have learned to grow crops and keep animals. They know how to make pottery, work metal and weave fabric. There is a palisade to protect the village from wild animals. Someone is grinding wheat, another person is making a basket, and off in the distance there is an old man teaching a boy how to use a bow and arrow. Up on the hillside is a stone circle built to honor the gods.
Keep turning the pages of this book and you will always see the same spot on the same river - a Medieval village in the 1200's or a Medieval town in the 1400's. We visit this town when the Black Death strikes in the 1500's. We visit the town during the 1700's when elegance is the order of the day for the wealthy, and during the grim 1800's when new industry fuels the economy and coal fuels the factories and there is overcrowding. And so on. Fourteen different times and fourteen very different scenes. The detail will grab you and bring greater understanding and continuity to what "civilization" has meant to our world. All the while, the minimal text is probing and prompts the reader to dig deeper into the illustrations to better see what life was like over these 12,000 years.
This is an unusual book, tackling history in an unusual and very effective way. Great for many different ages, it's one of those books that you pick up one minute and then wonder 45 minutes later where the time went!