What Is a Government?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sylvia Whitman
The second in Crabtree's series "Your Guide to Government," this nonfiction primer surveys topics in American government through a series of two-page spreads, such as: "Our Neighborhood," "Our Country," "Checks and Balances," "Making the Rules," "Health Care," "The Post Office," "Our Environment," etc. In simple, declarative sentences, the text outlines government operations and services. Unlike Bedesky's first book in the series, this one lacks a strong organizing principle and oversimplifies. According to this top-down model, "a government tells us what is important in our community." The book implies that all contemporary governments follow an American tripartite system—in contrast to "long ago," when "many countries were ruled by kings." Anchoring each spread lower left and top right are two color illustrations, predominantly photographs, each with a caption in a call-out box. Occasional fact boxes also break up the text. Although intended to jazz up a dry topic, the dominant illustrations often overwhelm the text. Many photos feature static objects: building facades, brass scales ("a symbol for our courts"), and an aircraft carrier ("…which protects many people"). Odd juxtaposition and generic, generally historical captions reinforce the randomness of the discussion. One spread pits the "last emperor of India," Bahadur Shah Zahar, against the left corner of the Constitution, which "gave American control of the government." Under "Follow the Leaders," a drawing of Abraham Lincoln faces two photos of Jesse Ventura, one from his days as "star wrestler" and another from a podium as governor of Minnesota. A glossary and index follow this rambling text. Reviewer: Sylvia Whitman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778743286
  • Publisher: Crabtree Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Series: Your Guide to Government Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 600L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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