Children's LiteratureCoverage of the continent begins with an overview of highlights, history, location, and salient features. Successive short chapters, some merely double-page spreads, introduce the geography, resources, and economy, including tourism, industry, and goods and services. No mention is made of the continent's current political unrest or drug trade problems. A quick trip through the history and early exploration of the continent provides key names, rebellions, and events of the past millennium. It also suggests that various straits, waterfalls, or mountain ranges were �discovered' by Europeans rather than known to the indigenous people already there. Double the space of previous chapters is given to the culture: sports, entertainment, government, cultural groups, and population. The series highlights general, if bland, vocabulary words (eroded, fertile, historians, Inca, Lent, salsa) and rounds them up in a glossary. Back matter includes a "Brain Teaser" section of questions and answers from the text information. Other reader enticements include boxed "Fast Facts" and informative picture captions, Web sites and books for further information, and an index. The only map included indicates geographic features, but has unclear country demarcations and lacks cities or rivers, even though the text refers to thema minor annoyance to young readers who would like to see these locations. The "Continents of the World" series from World Almanac Library has more and better maps, but is for a slightly older reader. Alternatively, this overview series works very well for upper elementary reference, although report writers may have to augment with some other, more specific sources, especially if dealingwith a particular country. Part of the "Continents" series. 2006, Weigl Publishers Inc, and Ages 9 to 12.
Susan Hepler, Ph.D.