Gr 4-7-Written in a clear, engaging, and respectful manner, these books are organized geographically and make clear the impact of the environment on every aspect of the various cultures. A central theme of Cooking is that the environment governs food choices. It is also noted that people who adhere to their culture's traditional diet are generally healthier than those who eat modern, processed foods. Tools begins with the Nootka Indians of the Pacific Northwest and an exciting description of a whale hunt, the tools used, and the role that women play in the drama. Then, region by region, the tools and weapons of other tribes are presented. What the Native Americans Wore seems on the surface to be organized by style of clothing, but once again it quickly becomes clear that the climate and environment of a region have a major impact on attire. It is a particular strength of these books that the designation "Native American" includes the indigenous people of Central and South America as well as Canada. All three volumes are illustrated with archival pictures and photographs. Inserts and captions add additional information, and the introductory chapter points readers to the "Further Reading" section. Unfortunately, as is too often the case, the Web sites listed are generally disappointing and, for the most part, either too commercial or not age appropriate. That slight flaw notwithstanding, these books are worthy of consideration.-Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6)
- Caitlin Augusta
The Native American Life series of fifteen titles provides brief overviews of topics relating to Native American life. Each title contains six chapters on the subject, followed by a chronology, a glossary, and other back matter. It is unfortunate that the publisher did not index the text box material, and the stock photos are not always a perfect fit for the text. In What The Native Americans Wore, Williams does not provide enough tribal and contextual frameworks to clarify where tribes lived and when they wore the clothing described. Her cryptic chapter headings require detective work to realize the book is arranged by region. While her descriptions of clothing elements seem detailed, accompanying photographs or sketches should really be ubiquitous for such a visual subject matter. Continual use of the passive voice makes for awkward constructions. Purchase individual volumes with care. (Native American Life) Reviewer: Caitlin Augusta; Ages 11 to 14.