School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Bright photos, appealing layouts, and readable information make this third edition an engaging series. Books are only minimally revised from the second editions, especially in chapter texts. They open with a pictorial "Quick Look" at the state's symbols, followed by an introductory overview and four chapters, which address its history, people, government, and economy, incorporating census-based population and ethnic group statistics. The most significant addition is increased coverage of early and current Native groups. Another new feature is the inclusion of illustrated "Ten Key" fact lists about locations, plants and animals, cities, people, and events. A detailed state map (with a skills quiz) can be found in the back matter. Report writers will find plenty of standard information, making these solid options for collections that don't have previous editions.
This title, from the "It's My State!" series, is one of the best state books I've ever seen. While covering all the basic information; geography, people, industry, government, etc., this book is actually interesting as well. It begins with "A Quick Look at Minnesota" that entails the usual list of state tree, bird, flower, muffin, gemstone and drink, with photographs. Virtually all the photographs and illustrations are cropped with rounded edges or in oval or circular form that makes them seem friendlier to the reader. The illustrations are vibrant and impart a great deal of information all by themselves. A calendar of events is included that details some of the cultural events and holidays celebrated by Minnesotans, from Ice Box Days in January to the summertime Minnesota State Fair. Instructions are given in making model snowshoes and cooking up some wild rice soup. The book appeals to students by looking at the state from a kid's perspective, which means they not only included things the teacher will expect them to know, but information the students themselves will find interesting. Current event stories involving Minnesota kids working to change state government may inspire others to make a difference in their own state. The volume includes three maps: one identifying the state's position on the U.S. map, one illustrated in a cartoon-like manner depicting the state's personality, and one detailed state map. The state song, with musical score, is also included. Suggestions for further reading and an index are also provided. This is an excellent volume in a great series. If you have got the need, these are the state books for you. 2004, Benchmark Books, Ages 9 to 16.
Children's Literature - Elizabeth D. Schafer
Retaining the format of its predecessor published in 2004, this second edition volume in "It's My State!" series incorporates some updated details, textual revisions, and new illustrations and bibliographic sources. Chapters present basic geographical, economic, historical, and cultural information accompanied by profiles of people, plants, and animals available in the first edition. The state's 2007 population of approximately 5.2 million residents is among recent facts included. The early twenty-first century recession's impact is briefly noted in addition to political firsts such as Minnesotan Keith Ellison becoming the initial Muslim who won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and Hmong-American Mee Moua winning a state senator election. A chapter featuring demographics emphasizes Minnesota's diversity, citing percentages of twenty-first century residents associated with various ethnicities. Discussion of Minnesota's government provides commentary about Project Citizen in which children interact with politicians regarding issues, such as studying anti-public smoking legislation that was passed as a 2007 law. A chart lists statistics quantifying the number of employees working in Minnesota industries as of 2007. The time line includes two twenty-first century events. This book does not tell about such notable twenty-first century Minnesota achievers as 2003 chemistry Nobel Prize winner Peter Agre; Amy Klobuchar, the first Minnesota female elected to the U.S. Senate; and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. Although Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louise Erdich are mentioned, this book excludes some significant modern Minnesota children's literature writers who often appropriate that state as a setting, such as National Book Award winner Pete Hautman and Newbery Medalists Gary Paulsen and Kate DiCamillo. Readers might find Minnesota Historical Society web site (www.mnhs.org) resources useful to supplement this text. Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer