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Children's LiteratureThis volume adds to the large body of nonfiction series titles aiming to satisfy the ubiquitous social studies standards and benchmarks of elementary school curricula. Each page contains an item for a letter of the alphabet. Some, like "art," are generic, while others, like "British India," and "Odissi" (a dance form), are quite specific to the region's history and cultures. Exemplifying "x" with "extremes" is an obvious compromise. Some pages list an additional "fast fact," which extends the idea on the page for that letter of the alphabet. The digitally created illustrations offer an array of forms and virtual textures but are, alas, not always accurate: The "L" page ("languages") shows Hindi vowels being written correctly on a board, but in a variation of the English vowel sequence (a e i o u) rather than the short-long vowel sequence far more likely to be used in a Hindi class. It is hard to say where the student's headdress and the teacher's draped dress are from, but they are not likely to be found in an Indian classroom. In general, any resemblance to the Indian sari in the illustrations is purely coincidental. The film shoot on the other hand seems quirky and authentic, even though Mumbai dwellers might be irked at having their movie industry referred to as "New Hollywood." What titles like this point to is the persisting need for authentic contemporary picture books with Indian settings. Enough of those might perhaps render such alphabet soups redundant. Back matter includes an index, a glossary, country facts, resources, and a list of common Hindi phrases. This book is part of the "Country ABCs" series. 2006, Picture Window Books/Capstone Press, Ages 8 to 12.