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Children's LiteraturePart of the "Fact Finders: Questions and Answers: Countries" series, this text is suggested for use with students in grades two to five, a considerable age span embracing many disparities in reading ability and interests. With twelve questions, each answered in two pages, the books in this series stick mostly to basic facts about usual social studies topics like government, industries, families, arts, sports, holidays and foods. Each topic is illustrated with one clear color photo, but the text is cursory, the most glaring omissions occurring in the fields of history and politics. In this title, for example, readers will find no mention of its twentieth-century occupation by Italy or the more recent civil war resulting in Eritrea's independence; a picture of a children's math class reveals only boys as students. The overall impression one receives of life in this African country is that its diverse population is mainly rural, extremely poor, and suffering from the aftereffects of war and famine. What is relevant and interesting to fifth graders, of course, may well be inappropriate for primary students, thus illustrating the main problem with a series of this kind. "Ethiopia Fast Facts," a traceable flag, a map, and a few Amharic expressions are among the extra features. For websites, the bibliography relies on Facthound, whose African sites, on examination, do not include Ethiopia, except for one with recipes for Ethiopian food. Teachers will find this series most useful, if at all, for quick reference to facts or for clues to further research. 2006, Capstone, Ages 7 to 10.
—Barbara L. Talcroft