I'm working on an idea. I want to write some humorous history. I am getting so sick of reading this dry crap to my kids and hoping they will comprehend a little tiny bit of it. Lately I've been pre-reading it and then telling it back in my own words, with commentary. Here's a typical thing I might do for What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know Geography, World Civilization and American Civilization:
"Okay, so Magellan went around the world, right? Well, it all started when he made his own king (Portugal) mad and had to go crying to the Spanish king to help him get some ships and stuff if the king would let him sail on the Spanish side of where they were allowed to sail. Nowhere in the history book we are reading does it say this word, but Mommy is saying it now: traitor.
And by the way, Da Gama was a PIRATE, not really an explorer. There is a difference. When you burn stuff down and steal for your own gain, you are a pirate. Sheesh, when we get to the part about slaves, will the owners of the slaves be called simply BUSINESSMEN?
Mommy digresses. Sorry. Magellan did not sail all the way around the world because he made some natives mad in the Philippines and they killed him, but his SHIP did survive and made it all the way around the world.
Then there's Zheng He, which I don't remember ever hearing about. This was a Chinese dude who did WAY more than the white guys did. He had 60 huge ships (called junks, tee hee!), 255 smaller ships and over 27,000 crew members. He was like Microsoft to the other guys' mom and pop store. He coulda done more cool stuff than he did but China didn't want outside influence messing with their culture.
Now, let's talk about how great the mommies of these explorers were to instill a sense of adventure in their boys ..."