Children's LiteratureThis text, one of many titles in Lerner's "First People" series, is a smartly packaged text of useful information and vivid photographs that add to both the reader's understanding of text and the aesthetic pleasure of the book itself. The book is arranged fairly logically, although it is a bit jarring at the beginning to switch from an introduction about the aboriginal peoples to the landforms, plants and animals of Australia and then back to the history of Australia's aborigines, which does take up 90 percent of the book. That aside, the information chosen clearly indicates how these proud groups of people have managed to survive the harsher aspects of their livesdifficulties due to nature as well as problems created by the European invaders. (In fact, the history of the oppressed in Australia is so similar to the history of both African Americans and Native Americans in the United States that I often felt I could have been reading an American history text.) The photographs chosen are all vivid in their explication of Australia the continent and the details of its native peoples. The written text that corresponds with each picture reads easily across the page, and additional details related to the information found on each two-page spread is boxed in a contrasting color to call attention to itself. I found this to be an educational and interesting read, two necessary aspects of any book that will be used with upper elementary and middle school aged students. 2002, Lerner, $23.93. Ages 8 to 14. Reviewer: Jean Boreen
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 3-6-These books focus on the indigenous people of Australia and East Africa. Appealing cover photographs feature an adult and child and the pages are framed to create a photo-album look. The texts begin with information on the land, plants, and animals to set a framework for how people live before moving on to history and current cultural practices (home life, music and dance, crafts, language, and religion). Bartlett provides a fairly straightforward look at the treatment of Aboriginal peoples by the Australian government and the measures that have been taken to restore tribal rights, land, and relationships. The focus on Masai life centers a bit more on the land, animals, and early inhabitants of the area. Although the texts do not provide enough information for in-depth reports, the colorful pictures are intriguing. Unfortunately, there are no pronunciation guides. Libraries that need to fill collection gaps would do well to consider these titles.-Jeanette Larson, Texas State Library, Austin Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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