Gr 3-5-Children will learn plenty about the U.S. after taking this winsome tour. The book devotes a page to each state and lists its nickname, date of statehood, and capital with drawings of its flower and bird, and a simple outline map. Beyond that, the page is filled with facts, stories, and statistics unique to that state. For example, Davis notes the origin of "Tar Heel" in North Carolina, points out that the tallest waterfalls in North America are in California, explains that a "nodding donkey" is an oil pump in Texas, and that, at one point, Alaska is only two miles away from Russia. Each page is filled with numerous cartoon drawings that, along with the text, reflect the role of African Americans, Native Americans, and women in our country's history. While the information is not comprehensive enough for reports, it does provide offbeat and interesting tidbits to round them out. A bright, cheery romp through the states.-Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The author of the popular adult Don't Know Much About series goes after a younger audience, laying out a skimpy assortment of random facts about the states and using the same lighthearted Q&A format. With Andriani's small cartoon illustrations liberally scattered about for color, Davis pauses at each state in alphabetical order, starting with a box of facts in brief, then, along with the occasional lame joke ("What has four eyes but can't see? Mississippi"), introducing a handful of historical events, famous natives, natural features, or unique characteristics. Browsers may pause here for a few moments-before going on to more substantial tours of the US, such as Lila Perl's It Happened in America (1992). Because Davis's accuracy is sometimes as casual as his style-not all of the Alamo's defenders were Texans, for instance, and Davy Crockett wore a coonskin cap far more often in legend than in life-it's not a primary purchase for libraries. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)