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Children's LiteratureWith vibrant pictures and fascinating bits of information on every page, this book takes the reader around the world in 300 pages. Although the book is divided into segments by continent and maps are included, the people are looked at through cultures that may not be defined by geographic boundaries. Individual headings for the cultures of 80-some groups of people around the world provide interesting overviews. Then fascinating bits of single-paragraph information twine around expressive pictures. Unfortunately, the format uses many stereotypes and generalities that may not be accurate. For instance, Amish life is over-simplified with a note that says they never drive cars. Actually, "black-bumper Amish" do drive plain cars. I wish the author told how many of the outfits shown in the book are regular garments and how many are strictly ceremonial. When I was in New Zealand I saw Maori garb during tourist shows, but at a private meeting at a Marae, their clothing was similar to ours. I also was troubled by the fact that on page 293 the Maori population is said to be 14 percent of the population of New Zealand and four pages later the percentage has grown to 16. Lack of attention to such a small checkable detail makes me wonder how carefully other facts were checked. Nevertheless this is a gloriously beautiful book sure to stimulate a child's (or an adult's) interest in the wide world and is worth reading with a grain or two of salt. 2003, DK Publishing Inc, Ages 8 up.
—Janet Crane Barley