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Children's LiteraturePieces of Arkansas's history, geography, agriculture, and society pepper this book, which uses the alphabet to tie everything together. Each letter represents an aspect of the state, and is joined by a four-line poem and a few paragraphs giving more details about the subject at hand. For example, "L" is for "Little Rock," which is the state capital. The accompanying paragraph explains how this city earned its name. Compared to the main text, the alphabet poetry is over-simplified. In other words, anyone who can read at this level does not need to be briefed on which letters begin which words. Many of the poems, for example, have lines such as "Diamonds begin with the letter D." One can see that for the most part, these choppy rhymes add nothing to the book. On a more positive note, the book is easy to read and has an appealing design, filled with colorful art that truly complements the text. The facts about Arkansas are very inclusive, as it covers so many aspects and is therefore an informative resource. 2003, Sleeping Bear Press, Ages 12 to 15.
—Cherie Ilg Haas