"Imagine what it would be like to be a kid who jumps into a picture and lives some of the most exciting moments in history like walking on the moon or arriving in America, ready to start a new life. In Anthony and the Magic Pictures Frame, history comes alive in the mind of a child.
Here we find Anthony in digitally enhanced pictures, so it looks like he really was walking on the moon, or standing next to Charles Lindbergh and his airplane in 1927. The pictures are great because they show things you might not normally see, like the inside of the plane. You might not see this unless you went to the National Air & Space Museum in Washington.
Here we also find Anthony interviewing Thomas Edison, and standing with Lou Gehrig on opening day at Yankee Stadium in 1937. Throughout this book there is a sense of humor, but also profound moments and moments for reflection.
Suddenly, history becomes far more interesting when it is told from this type of perspective. Even in the stories of harsh realities during World War II, there is a sense of kindness as people help one another to survive. This is a book children and adults will love, and it puts a smile on your face while you learn a lot about history."
The Rebecca Review
Amazon.com Top 10 Reviewer
"The book truly brings history alive. I read excerpts from the book in a speech I gave on Memorial Day. I was told by many in attendance that it made the Omaha Beach landing so vivid that they had Goosebumps - some were moved to tears. I highly recommend this book. I will enjoy it for many years to come."
Representative Shirley Gomes, Boston, MA
Massachusetts State House of Representatives
"The book is so big, I didn't want to wait to finish reading it before posting a review of the time-traveling history book, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame, by Seattle author Michael Class. I've finished reading the first few chapters, which transported my three daughters and I to the moon, to Ellis Island and New York, and to Italy during WWI.
Through a combination of good storytelling, rich details, and authentic historical photos and dialogue, the author frames real history with an exciting, imaginative story. The full-page photos and quotes from well-known historical figures actually delayed me from getting started with the book, because my daughters wanted to turn every page to see every photo and read every quote before turning the book over to me.
Although the book is recommended for young adults in grade levels 6 through 12, I've been reading to a younger audience. Nonetheless, the adventure (and romance) captivated my daughters. I know that we're going to enjoy this book for a long time."
Sarah McGrath, Article in The Examiner
April 20, 2010
"Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is a tribute to how an interest in family history can fuel the imagination and lead to fascinating journeys through history and humanity. Author Michael S. Class admits that the book started with his own research into his family's history. An idea to digitally insert his son into old family photos and let his son "meet" his ancestors eventually evolved into a full-blown treatment of American history. Anthony travels back in time, popping up in famous pictures accompanied by information, facts, and quotes relevant to the time. This book is intended as a teaching tool for use with young adults, but it also offers stories from history appropriate for all ages, complete with detailed notes, recommendations of supplemental reading, music, and movies."
November / December 2005
"What a clever concept! There have been many time travel books, but using photos of Anthony 'actually' in the places he visits - actually inserted into real historical photos - provides a wonderfully fresh angle. That the sights Anthony sees and the historical events he witnesses are so copiously backed up with footnotes is another nice touch. This book makes learning painless and lots of fun.
The author's introduction with the reports of the appearing and disappearing Anthony is also clever and an interesting touch that kids should love. It's realistic how Anthony first finds out about the Magic Picture Frame, and then gets the courage to climb through. Anthony's narration of the story sounds just the way a real boy would recount them. There's also a nice sense of humor throughout - as in Anthony's crack about falling through the picture frame onto the surface of the moon being not a small step, but rather a giant leap.
The history and real facts inserted in these and other scenes are wonderful ways for kids to learn. The amount of detail provided throughout all the stories is amazing. The skimpiness of Lindbergh's plane and the horrors of D-Day and the Holocaust are all too clear. Yet the good things - the successes of America's space program, Lou Gehrig's grace and goodness - are also made clear. The book's overall message - 'do all the good that you can, for all the people that you can' - is lovely.
This is a phenomenal book, chock full of billions of bits of history, trivia, facts, and information. This book would keep a young reader occupied for weeks, or longer!"
14th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards, January 2007
Opinion of the Judges
"The book is the story of Anthony, who has a mysterious picture frame that hangs in his room with the ability to transport him through time and space. It's a magical book that brings history to life. Each chapter is painstakingly researched. In a turbulent time, Anthony’s story serves as a reminder of the foundations of our country and what it has achieved through determination and a belief in the power of goodness."
Whitney Hallberg, Editor
Reviews of Good Books Independently Published
"This book should be in every home. In addition to being a priceless collection of facts and photos, these pages offer a relevant look at history through the eyes of Anthony. As he walks through the picture frame into different time periods, the situations and people affect him in personal ways. Anthony is not only a spectator; he’s a participant, and that’s the genius of this book. He walks on the moon with Buzz Aldrin, flies across the Atlantic Ocean with Charles Lindbergh, and even meets his own great-great grandfather at Ellis Island.
A slight touching-up of actual photographs puts Anthony is a variety of famous situations, causing a few chuckles: I wonder what Thomas Edison thought of the iPod! Conversations with these heroes are based on actual quotes, which are footnoted for easy reference. The author even includes an extensive list of books, music, movies and places to visit that will encourage further study about these great stories of the past. Because of all these resources, the magic of this book doesn’t end with the last page. There are an almost infinite number of opportunities to further explore these memorable events.
The narrative is conversational and contemporary and includes more than just the facts. The author smoothly incorporates moral lessons into the historical events, providing young readers with a compass for today’s culture. Each chapter focuses on an important topic and encourages hard work, virtuous living, and the need to fight evil in society. However, the messages are never preachy; rather, they offer meaningful insights that can positively impact our world.
Truly, words cannot express the wonders of this book. Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is a timeless treasure."
Curled Up With A Good Kid's Book
A Reading Resource for Kids, Teachers, Librarians and Parents
"A history book that literally puts young students right in the picture: Now there’s a concept that makes a lot of sense in a history-impaired educational system!
The author doesn’t shy away from controversial subjects such as the decision to end the war in the Pacific by dropping Atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and the current War on Terror. The chapters are not merely descriptive, they come with a moral message, a homily, if you will. This is not a Howard Zinn, warts and all, "the U.S. is a horrible place" type of book. The author shows faults common to the human species, but offers his young readers hope.
When I was in school, textbooks had plenty of text and few photos. That doesn’t work with today’s visually oriented, tech-savvy children. They’ll understand and recognize Anthony’s iPod, which he wears in several shots; they’ll get a kick from the photo Anthony claims to have taken with his point-and-shoot digital camera of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig at a baseball game in the 1930s.
As a history buff, I enjoyed Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame and appreciated its positive point of view."
Huntington News Network
"Entertaining and educational!"
National Syndicated Talk Show Host
"American dreams. When's the last time you contemplated what it means to be an American? Or how fortunate we are to live in this land of opportunity? It's easy to gripe about things we don't like and easy to forget that past generations of Americans weathered their own storms. America is not - and never has been - perfect.
But even the most jaded might find a breath of fresh air by opening a book created by a Seattle-area dad, Michael S. Class. Beautiful enough to be a coffee table book, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame uses advanced digital photography techniques to place a modern-day boy next to some of our nation's greatest heroes - from famous astronauts, athletes, and inventors to humble immigrants and soldiers."
The Redmond Reporter, Redmond, WA
"Michael Class writes with an engaging writing style and a feel for his intended readers. A striking series of historic photographs. The results are startling. Moral lessons based on religious faith, on a belief in good and evil, on leadership by example, and on American patriotism."
The Issaquah Press, Issaquah, WA
"Offers young readers an incredible depiction and encouraging read. Specifically designed and deftly written in a child-friendly and educational format. Very strongly recommended - especially to all parents wishing for an accurate and expansive education of American history for their children."
Midwest Book Review "Reviewer's Choice"
"A marvelous American history book that is factual and fun. Uses authentic quotes in conversations with Anthony. The photographs are clearly reproduced on the high gloss paper in this 10 inch-by-10 inch, 225 page book. Includes 61 pages of expanded footnotes and lists of books, music, movies, Web sites, and historic sites."
The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA
"Michael Class would be a very happy man if he got a letter from a 15-year-old saying they liked the book so much they went on to learn…themselves. Frances Syzmanski, has been teaching History in the Chicago Public Schools for 41 years. She believes that Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame could be useful for special assignments. The interactive features of the book are appealing and part of today’s trend."
L.A. Splash Magazine, Splash Magazines Worldwide
"A marvelously well-crafted and beautiful book. Extraordinary production values. I recommend this book to everyone listening. This book will give your children a proper perspective on American history."
G. Gordon Liddy
The G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show
"Anthony And The Magic Picture Frame, by Michael S. Class, is a terrific new book that makes history (and the moral lessons it teaches us) fascinating for kids. Homefires highly recommends it for homeschoolers."
Homefires "Editor's Pick"
The Journal of Homeschooling Online
"Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is an innovative book that will stimulate your child's interest in history. Although written for ages 12 and up, this can easily be used as a family read-aloud for younger children.
Your child will be transported back to the time of important historical events using real photographs of "Anthony" superimposed on historical photos of the people he visits including Charles Lindbergh, Lou Gehrig, Thomas Edison, and Dr. Jonas Salk. While on these "visits," Anthony learns about the Apollo Moon Mission, The Great Depression, Immigration, Polio Vaccine, WWII, the Holocaust, and more. Real quotes from real people make the story come so alive that you almost believe Anthony is there!
Included in the book is a list of books, movies, museums, and music related to each topic as well as footnotes that are lessons in themselves. I also like that the author chose to include references to God and Bible scripture rather than make this "politically" correct.
The author, Michael Class, wrote the book to encourage "young people to become productive, honest, thoughtful, moral citizens-and to contribute in a positive way to American society and the world." He has done an excellent job of fulfilling this mission. I highly recommend this book for everyone, even adults."
Teacher and Homeschool Consultant
"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 tranformed 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."
Susan M., "Eclectic Homeschool Mom," Seattle, WA
"Turns American history into a grand time-travel adventure. Gorgeous hardcover with phenomenal illustrations."
Hoagies Gifted Education Page
Gifts for the Gifted: The Best of Hoagies Shopping Guide
"Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame gives us a fresh and entertaining look into some of history’s most famous and interesting people. ... This hardbound book has a professional quality that only most collectors’ editions possess.
Chapter 3, “To America I Will Go,” decidedly immersed me into the story, when Anthony meets his own grandfather on his trip to America from Italy. There we see an inside view of the hardship and troubles of the many families who immigrated through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s. This story is written from Anthony’s perspective, which inescapably draws the reader into the experience and provides a viewpoint that is designed to reach the child on an emotional level and provoke the reader to thoughtfully contemplate the circumstance of those he interacts with. I found myself curious about this time period, searching for more information on Ellis Island and immigration statistics.
I admit to not being very familiar with Lou Gehrig prior to reading Chapter 7, “The Luckiest Man.” After reading about Anthony’s account of his life and experiences, I feel like I not only know him but that we are old friends. The author really made Lou Gehrig seem larger than life and gave us a glimpse of a man who is someone we can all look up to and respect. The adoration Anthony has for Lou shines through perfectly and helps the child understand just how important Lou Gehrig was to those who knew him and those who loved to watch him play.
The book doesn’t leave you hanging at the end of the “story.” The author has provided a tremendous resource of books, videos, historical places and more, to encourage a deeper understanding of the subjects being studied. This is a terrific aid for the teacher or homeschooling parent committed to presenting an accurate view of history that will entertain and educate the student, without putting them to sleep, something most children will appreciate.
If you only purchase one history book this year for your middle-school-aged child, make this be the one. ... With so many books written today that are morally bankrupt and leave a child looking for a strong moral foundation upon which to build, this book is a breath of fresh air."
Excerpts from Book Review
"Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is replete with historical fact woven into an entertaining story, but it is more than just history offered with a spoonful of sugar. Class has in mind more than helping children learn historical facts. Throughout the book, he emphasizes the idea that "the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, and that doing the right thing always matters."
The last chapter brings Anthony back to his time. As Anthony listens to the news about the war in Iraq and other current events, he realizes that his own time is just as jumbled to him as the past was to those who lived then. He also realizes that the historical figures he has come to admire, Neil Armstrong, Thomas Edison, and Audie Murphy would have lived their lives much as they did in the past. Edison would invent other things. Armstrong would be part of today's space program; Audie Murphy would defend his country against today's enemies. Anthony concludes, "No matter how many trips I take into the past, the lesson of history never seems to change. Time is precious. It is given to you only once, and you never know how much you have. If you use your time to achieve, to contribute, and to do what is right, then you will be using your time wisely. And if you try to do all the good that you can, for all the people that you can, for as long as you can - and you trust in God to guide you - then you will be happy."
Extensive footnotes, also written in the same engaging style as the text, offer additional information and explanation of what Anthony experiences: like Newton's First Law of Motion on the moon. And, Anthony recommends books for further reading, movies to watch, music to listen to, and places to visit. The "Anthony Recommends" lists are compiled at the end of the book. Where available, Class has included website links for further reading.
Class offers a more intimate story of specific life changing and history changing events...that will rivet young readers."
Eclectic Homeschool Online
The Magazine for Creative Homeschoolers
"You will never see anything like this book if you aren't looking for it! Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is an adventurous history book written using a time traveling theme. Travel with 12-year old Anthony as he steps through the Magic Picture Frame and witnesses some of the most important events in America's 20th century history.
Here is how the book is laid out: The author has used digital technology to insert Anthony’s picture into some of the most famous historical photographs ever. Anthony is there at the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima; he flies in the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh; he stands in the immigration line on Ellis Island; and he receives a polio vaccine in 1955. The digital enhancement of each photograph is incredible and more than just a "copy and paste" type of photo. It is obvious that the author has spent a lot of time painstakingly adding shadows, appropriate clothing for the time period, etc., so that the authenticity of the photograph is preserved. You feel as if you are right there with Anthony!
The author also set out to share the moral lessons of American History. From the inside front cover, "Anthony challenges the reader to think critically - to see the modern world in the light of the lessons of the past." Each chapter is not a brief overview of the event, but about 20 pages FULL of historically accurate information written in a story-like format. This makes it a very interesting read for the child (and the parent!). The footnotes in the story are numerous and give even more information about the event. This book was written for ages 12+, but I do believe that it could be read with younger children because the pictures are so captivating. The parent might just want to shorten the amount of text shared with those a bit younger.
The inclusion of all of the additional resources to check out - the lists of movies, books, music, and places - really add to the value of this book. A family can read about an event together and, if so led, can proceed to study it even more through the recommended items. My 12-year old finds it fascinating and just picks it up to read. A 16-year old I loaned it to enjoyed it tremendously saying that he found it to be "a great book." Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame does not cover every event of the 20th century, but it will get children interested in learning more about their past."
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
The Magazine for Homeschool Families
"Relating modern-era history to children often proves to be be a challenge. Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame, written by Michael S. Class, attempts to fill this void by bringing the child into history, literally.
Anthony is your average twelve year old boy, with one difference: Anthony has a magic picture frame. Anthony’s picture frame allows him to step back in time and witness history first-hand. Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is a narrative journal of Anthony’s activities and provides detailed descriptions of what he saw, heard, and lived through.
Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame brings history to life for middle-years and older children. Wonderfully illustrated with archival photographs, your child can see and read about important events and learn how these events shape our lives today. The photographs are brilliantly altered to include Anthony, in period garb, right in the middle of the action. Be warned, however, that many of these photographs are graphic. The photographs are real and are well-used, but they are made so much more real by the presence of this little boy in each of them, sometimes in the middle of a battlefield. If you have a highly sensitive child you may wish to save this book for when they are of an age to see children in distressing situations.
Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame has a place in the library of all Americans who want to give their children an accurate and detailed education in current-era American history. Best suited for children twelve and older, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame will provide years worth of lessons or serve as a fantastic stand-alone resource."
BellaOnline's Homeschooling Editor