Colorful photographs enhance this book of basic information about the Dominican Republic. Geographical facts and a map introduce the reader to some of the distinctive aspects of this country, including the rat-like solenodon that lives only on the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba. Pictures of children participating in some of the cultural arts, such as dancing and playing the accordion, highlight the next section. Everyday life including common activities and foods provide a sense of the culture. Most people are Catholic, so the celebration of religious holidays is significant. Christmas, El Carnaval, Festival del Merengue, and El Dia de la Raza are observed with the wearing of colorful clothing and the joy of traditional dancing. Sometimes the pages with recipes, rules for playing games, jewelry making, and directions for making masks distract from the flow of information. Brief biographical information is given for Minerva Bernardino, Juan Pablo Duarte, and Sammy Sosa. A glossary, two pages of fast facts, a bibliography, and an index enhance the value of the book for young researchers. It's part of the "Discovering Cultures" series. 2004, Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish, Ages 7 to 10.
Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.