Children's Literature - Elisabeth GreenbergWritten at a third grade level for grades third through fifth, this book veers toward simple factual material with little explanation of social studies concepts. However, its large-format photography and enthusiastic tone do invite students to learn more. The start of the book places Egypt geographically in Africa and Asia and offers a few facts about the major cities. Both the history section and the timeline jump through millennia rapidly, but note a transition from Pharaohs to Islam to colonial rule and then to independence and a republican form of government. The book also describes landforms, particularly the Nile River, the Sinai Peninsula, and the deserts. National symbols are discussed. A brief look at wildlife, work, daily life, and religion lead into a “famous faces” section mentioning Ramses and Cleopatra. An unusual “tour book” spread suggests things to do while visiting Egypt. That would be quite a field trip for fourth graders! The book fails sadly in the section “A Great Country” with only platitudes such as “The people and places that make up this country offer something special. They help make the world a more beautiful, interesting place.” This book does, through its visuals, give students a glimpse of the amazing art and ancient history of Egypt; however, it is light on social studies concept building. The publisher suggests that this book would be good for research reports and that it is correlated to core and state standards. Reviewer: Elisabeth Greenberg; Ages 8 to 10.
School Library Journal11/01/2013
Gr 3–5—With a format that combines large, bright photos and brief text, these books provide basic introductions to world countries. Each titles opens with maps that locate the country and its most important cities and then touches on its history and flag, geography, economy, culture, most famous people, and more. "Tour Book" sections suggest places to visit and things to do and "Up Close" pages list basic facts. The attractive, well-captioned photos are the strongest elements of the set, but don't fully compensate for the text that is limited to only a few sentences per page. Overgeneralization, superficial coverage, and an annoying overuse of exclamation points will further limit this set's usefulness to report writers; it should be considered as an additional purchase where picture-heavy books to aid developing readers are in demand.
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