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Children's LiteratureIt is obvious that the author of this book is passionate about the importance of rivers. She shares with the reader her joy about the beauty and overwhelming number of rivers in North America. This activity guide starts out with an evaporation experiment to help children understand the idea of the water cycle. The technical terms headwater, precipitation, condensation, evaporation, amphibian, watershed, and river keepers are in italics and are explained within the text as well as in the glossary. Throughout the rest of the book, the chapters are divided into the main geographical areas: western rivers, northwestern rivers, Mexico and the southwestern rivers, Midwestern rivers, southeastern rivers, northeastern rivers, and northern rivers. In each of these regions, the author shows interesting characteristics of the rivers and gives the reader a chance to experiment and explore using clever projects. In the western rivers chapter, readers can try a salt water experiment, build their own dam, and try to pan for gold. At the same time, they are learning about the Colorado River, the Sacramento River, and the San Joaquin River. In the northeastern rivers chapter, readers can try a nature painting, play a "Solve the Spill" game, check out cattails, and learn to hunt for fossils. At the same time, they are learning more about the Hudson River, the Delaware River, the Connecticut River, and the Kennebec River. Each river featured in this book has a few pages devoted to its history and includes a fact box of statistical information, including its major tributaries, a list of cities served by the town, and its watershed area. The black-and-white wash illustrations, charts, diagrams, and maps areclear and legible. The back matter is an extensive resource and contains a bibliography, a list of Web sites, a selection of video/DVD resources, a list of river keepers and other watershed organizations listed by state, a list of places to visit organized by state, a monthly calendar of events, a glossary, an index, and list of Nancy Castaldo's other titles. This book is part of Chicago Review Press' series of activity guides about the natural world. This series includes the titles Deserts: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9, Oceans: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9, Rainforests: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9, and River Wild: An Activity Guide to North American Rivers. 2006, Chicago Review Press, Ages 7 to 12.
—Sally J. K. Davies