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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
As a reviewer, one can be a little jaded or skeptical about revised editions of books in a series, but what a pleasant surprise to read the revision of Maryland in the “America the Beautiful” series. The text is chock full of information but flows smoothly from a geography lesson, to the early settlers and history, and then to a contemporary look at the state. As a twenty-five year resident of Maryland, I did learn a few things including the origin of the state’s name. Every page is augmented with full color photographs, sketches, maps, charts and all manner of ways to depict information with appropriate captions and labeling. If you don’t get “it” from reading the words, the illustrations certainly convey enough that this could be a picture book introduction to the state. If that is not sufficient, then the tidbits in boxed sections as well as the FAQs and WOW items should provide readers with lots of facts to use in conversations with friends and family and further pique interest. For instance, the basin in which Chesapeake Bay lies may have been formed by a meteorite striking Earth thirty-five million years ago. Each chapter has a mini table of contents and there are timelines along the bottom of the two-page spread for a chapter introduction. I even found the large font on the opening page enticing enough that I really wanted to turn the page to read more. The layout is terrific and will appeal to today’s readers. Words to know are defined in the margins and later recapped in a full glossary. The torn notebook pages feature famous people from the state and are always followed by a web link for those who want to know more. The links by state provide quite a bit more information, however, readers may have to scroll through a list of items to find exactly what they may be looking for. For example, when I went to the site to learn more about George Calvert it was quite interesting to read an entry from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. The final section of the book is entitled “Travel Guide” and it takes the reader through the state and notes many points of interest. For teachers and homeschoolers there are plenty of projects—writing, art, science, and research that can be undertaken. A timeline recaps all the pieces that are featured in the various chapters and as mentioned there is a glossary, accumulation of fast facts ranging from state symbols to geography, population, and weather. The state song is printed (no music, but there is a reference to the music it was set to), historical sites, sports teams, cultural instructions, annual events, and a super biographical dictionary. What kid doesn’t want to know a movie, TV or sports star born in his or her state? The backmatter includes an in depth Index as well as Resources that contains both fiction and nonfiction titles that are reasonably current and as for fiction some truly kid focused selections. Furthermore, most of the fiction titles have been written by authors belonging to the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC (which includes Maryland and Virginia) lending a bit of authenticity to the setting they have chosen for the books cited. If all the titles in this series are this well done then it is worth upgrading your existing set and if you do not have one certainly consider purchasing this one. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot; Ages 10 up.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Land: From seashore to mountains, Maryland has it all, split up the middle by America's largest bay     8
First People: The earliest residents of Maryland thrived on the resources of Chesapeake Bay; they also traded with people from farther west     26
Exploration and Settlement: Lord Baltimore and the settlers who followed sought a place of economic prosperity and religious freedom     34
Growth and Change: Marylanders play an important role in the struggle to create, build, and protect a new nation     48
More Modern Times: While Baltimore continued to prosper, other parts of Maryland became suburbs of the nation's capital     62
People: Edgar Allan Poe, crab cakes, Babe Ruth, the Muppets, and great ethnic restaurants-Maryland's people have contributed to American culture     72
Government: The oldest State House in continuous use in the United States served as a meeting place when Annapolis briefly held the title of nation's capital     86
Economy: The earliest residents harvested the bay, the settlers grew tobacco, a Marylander invented the electric drill, and the federal government calls many workers     98
Travel Guide: Buzzing cities, colonial history, wild ponies on the beach, Thoroughbreds at the track, the Appalachian Trail, sailing-and so much more     108
Project Room
Projects     116
Timeline     122
Glossary     125
Fast Facts     126
Biographical Dictionary     133
Resources     137
Index     139
Author's Tips and Source Notes     143

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