We got a lot of books about Rome before our trip to Rome.
This is Rome by M. Sasek-this one was disappointing. We love This is Paris, but Sasek's Rome book is much drier and read more like a guide book than a picture book, for some reason. Even so, I'd say it's worth reading, but probably much better suited for older children.
Rome Antics by David Macaulay-thumbs up from kids and I. Pat wished it was more like his Castle and Cathedral books.
Madeline and the Cats of Rome by John Marciano-thumbs up
Vacation Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osborne-thumbs up from Ro and I (Pat didn't read it, and Niamh wasn't interested)
Ancient Rome and Pompeii by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce--thumbs up from me, though the kids were not super interested.
The Roman Colosseum by Elizabeth Mann--Definitely meant for older kids, so I didn't even attempt this one with the kids, and haven't read it myself.
And then picked up some more while we were in Pompeii!
The Usborne Time Traveller: Rome & Romans-thumbs up
Romans by Katie Daynes-thumbs up
Pompeii by Karen Bally-thumbs up--Rowan adores this book. He was torn between this one and a similar book about Gladiators, but ultimately the people running in terror from the erupting volcano won out over men being forced to fight each other or animals to the death.
Here he is reading it in our apartment in Rome after we got back Tuesday evening. He's so sensitive about some things, it always surprises me when things I think would be scary seem to fascinate him rather than scare him. At any rate, I do think it's a good book. It's a fictionalized account of the time of the eruption through a several people's eyes, and then at the end there is a chapter on how Pompeii was rediscovered, the excavations, treasures that have been found at Pompeii, and a nice map of the city.
We all watched Rick Steve's video clips about Rome. Niamh wasn't so interested, but I think this definitely helped Rowan get more excited about the trip.
I meant to read The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters and When in Rome by Ngaio Marsh, and also watch Roman Holiday, but got sucked into some other books instead. Not to mention just general craziness limiting free time. I'll get to all three in the next week or so while Rome is still fresh in my mind!