This set for young readers (grades 410) is based on the eighth edition of the "Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations" ["RBB" Ap 1 95]. The format is consistent throughout. Each volume begins with a table of contents for that volume and an explanation of the format. It includes a color key for flags and seals, which are printed in black and white in individual entries; an alphabetical list of the 35 numbered subheadings used in each entry and their corresponding numbers; and a list of symbols used. Each volume ends with the same glossary
Each of the 193 entries begins with the name of the country in English followed by its name in its own language. A drawing of the flag and seal is followed by a written description of the flag, the name of the anthem, a description of the monetary unit, and time related to Greenwich Mean Time. A map of the country labels the major cities, land features, and bordering countries, and a locator map shows the relative position of the country on its continent. The 35 sections follow. They include location and size, history, the economy (farming, labor, tourism), environmental topics (climate, pollution, topography), and culture (religion, education, ethnic groups). Current statistics are provided for each category. Each entry ends with a chart of selected social indicators that compares the country's standing in seven categories against low-income countries, high-income countries, and the U.S. There is also a short bibliography of mostly adult books. Many of the black-and-white photographs throughout reflect the daily life of young people. There are charts and graphs in most entries. Volume 9 has an index to the set
Measurements are given in metric with customary units in parentheses. Dates are in European order (day, month, year) rather than American (month, day, year). Entries range from 4 pages (Uzbekistan) to 35 pages (U.S.). In an otherwise excellent presentation there should have been a section with all the flags and seals in color--young people will have difficulty translating the color code to the flags. There is no information on typical diets or food preparation, which many teachers want included in a report
This beautifully produced set will be heavily used because it has most of the important information that teachers request for reports and much more. It is highly recommended for elementary-and middle-school and public libraries.