Children's Literature - Susan R. ShaffnerA beautiful photo of cricket players adorns the cover, but the rest of the book from Bobbie Kalman’s “The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures” series is disappointing. “An influential culture” section begins the book, but instead communicates how English culture is itself being influenced. The United Kingdom is incorrectly called a country, and no mention is made of how the once enormous British Empire influenced the world. The next sections on faith, religions, and festivals confuse denominations with religions, infer the Protestant Reformation took place in England, infer the Vikings visited only in 789 AD, confuse resurrection with rebirth, and confuse holly with mistletoe. When discussing English monarchy, only the Queen’s future Diamond Jubilee in 2012 is mentioned. The architecture section calls any large church a cathedral and makes no mention of Christopher Wren, the literature section omits Beowulf and Beatrix Potter and James Barrie, the English lore section mentions only Arthur, not Robin Hood. There are no sections about English foods and none on English sports. Technically, there are grammatical, capitalization, punctuation, and consistency errors. The boldface choices seem scattershot and some of those appearing in the glossary are wrongly defined: science fiction is referred to as made-up stories and movies based on space. If you are looking for multicultural middle grade curriculum support, try the “Welcome To My Country” series by Gareth Stevens Publishing. Reviewer: Susan R. Shaffner; Ages 8 to 12.
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