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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 10 to 14.
In many ways the title of this book, a part of the illustrated "Cultural Atlas for Young People" series, is a misnomer. While a portion of the second part of this text is dedicated to the Aztec and Mayan cultures, the vast majority of the narrative has little to nothing to do with the subject at hand. Indeed, the preponderance of the text deals with Native American life across North America as well as other areas not inhabited by either the Aztecs or Mayans. Yet, despite these elements of false advertising, the book actually combines text and visual imagery in such a way that readers do encounter a worthwhile introduction to the varied Native American peoples who strove to establish a livelihood across the New World. As with other books in this series, this text focuses on both the history and social mores of various Native American tribes. In this way such disparate peoples as the Inuits, Lakota, and Inca tribes are all presented in a way that allows readers an opportunity to catch at least an introduction to their central beliefs. What is missing in this text is a focus on the two groups that are referenced in the title. This shortcoming, while not a fatal flaw, lessens the overall value of this work. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck