Children's Literature - Ellen WeltyItaly is a land of multiple cultures and climates, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. In this second rendering of the “Enchantment of the World” series, the content has been increased to include information about not just the history and geography but the people and industry, climate and government, as well as religion and culture. The book is full of easily accessible statistics and facts that students can use to add interest to school reports and projects. These fast facts are reported in sidebars throughout the text. The illustrations consist of full-color photographs and maps that make it easy for readers to understand what the text is explaining. There is an easy recipe for Insalata Caprese that young readers can make, with adult supervision, for everyone can enjoy. Back matter incudes a list of fast facts including government details, geography facts, population figures, some common Italian words and their English meaning, a list of famous Italians and a list of landmarks in Italy. There is also a bibliography that includes websites and a comprehensive index. The photographs are credited in the back and there is information about the author. This book (and series) would be useful in any school library. Reviewer: Ellen Welty; Ages 10 to 14.
Children's Literature - Children's LiteratureThis overview of Italy is an appealing package, with informative chapters, colorful photos and maps. The historical portions are particularly strong because the text provides snapshots of what Italy was like at different points in time. A weak point is that the author sometimes makes generalizations about the Italian people. For example, in a chapter entitled "The Best of Life," she says, "[The Italians] are an exuberant people who are energetic in all they do. They are serious about their endeavors, but they make sure that they have fun whatever they do." The book contains several helpful charts, including a timeline, fast facts, famous Italians, and a comprehensive list of additional sources to further study the country. This title is one in the publisher's "Enchantment of the World" series. 1999, Children's Press/Grolier, Ages 11 up, $32.00. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati
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