Children's Literature - Children's Literature
The best part of this series of small volumes is the scattering of striking photographs--women veiled in the Muslim tradition making political speeches as far back as 1919 or modern high school graduates in cap and gown showing a mixture of headscarves, mortar boards and flowing hair. However, while this book has two pages of bright colorful photos of modern Cairo--students in western dress, an outdoor café, ladies window shopping--in the very back of the book, most of the text and photography focus much more on village life and older rural customs. It is hard to glean an accurate, coherent picture of life for the great diversity of people in Egypt today. The series is divided into three volumes--"people," "land," and "culture." The difficulty of such a division is immediately apparent because there are pages of ancient Egyptian history in both the "culture" and "people" volumes, and pages about "people" in the "land" book. Glossary words are highlighted in the text and there are frequent headings to simplify reading and organizing for young people. 2000, Crabtree Publishing Company, Ages 8 to 14, $20.60 and $7.95. Reviewer: Karen LeggettChildren's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Each of these books touches on both ancient and modern life, but to different degrees determined by the subject matter. For example, Culture is dominated by ancient times and religious beliefs. A briefer section mentions modern religious practices, art, music, dance, and other forms of popular culture. By contrast, Land concentrates primarily on how the land is used today. It describes the importance of the Nile River in sustaining life and the growth of major cities, such as Cairo and Alexandria. It only briefly mentions some of the monuments left behind by ancient people. People is mostly devoted to the lives of modern Egyptians. It describes different lifestyles in villages, cities, and the desert, as well as the importance of Islam and Egyptian festivals. There are also sections on family customs, sports, schools, and food. Colorful photos on every page illustrate modern life and the relics of the past. Libraries will need to buy all three of these titles to provide a general understanding of Egyptian life.-Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Although the Lands, Peoples, and Cultures series is separated into three volumes, the contents are so interrelated that the reader really needs to perceive them as a single entity: They share a common thread: how people live and work today in this land of the Nile, deserts, and antiquities. Regarding the last of these, the books abound in photosof the Sphinx, the pyramids, King Tut's gold death mask, Edfu, and Luxor. There also are photos of the people at work, at prayer, at home, and in school. Pictures depict people of the Siwa Oasis, the Bedouins, people on camels and in donkey carts, and workers picking cotton and dates, loading sugar cane, and plying their various trades in cities and villages. Other photos showing farmers irrigating fields, fishers rowing boats, felucca sailboats, and water blasting from the Aswan dam accent the area's dependence on the Nile.
The series also conveys clear and wellillustrated explanations of how the pyramids were built, how mummies are preserved, how to write your name in heiroglyphs, and how the Great Temple of Abu Simbel was moved. Topics occupy twopage spreads and consist of headed paragraphs interspersed with colored photographs. For example, the topic "Transportation Then and Now" has paragraphs labeled "Waterways," "Suez Canal," "Camels," and "City Traffic." "Village Life" has sections labeled "Village Homes," "Farming," "Everyday Chores," and Family and Friends," while "Ancient Beliefs" has paragraphs titled "Gods and Goddesses," "Temples and Priests," "Sacred Cat," and "Amulets."
A few weaknesses stand out: There is no clear picture of the Aswan dam or any mention of ecological effects in the Nile delta because ofblocked sediments. Also, the one map of Egypt is oversimplified, showing neither the Suez Canal nor elevations. And neither a diagram nor a description of an Archimedes screw used for irrigation conveys how the screw actually works. Still, because the strength of these books lies in their photographs, young children can get an inclusive view of Egypt regardless of their reading ability or grade level. (a Bobbie Kalman Book; from the Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series.) Recommended, Grades 38. REVIEWER: Dr. George Hennings (emeritus, Kean University) ISBN: 0865052336