Explaining how our federal government works to a primary school student can be a formidable task. Making it simple enough to be understandable yet also relevant to a child's life is challenging. The U.S. House of Representatives, one of four books in the "First Facts-Our Government" series, succeeds in meeting this challenge. Laid out like a mini-textbook, the book includes a table of contents, a hands-on exercise, glossary, bibliography, and index. Each two-page "chapter" is headed by a simple title and an easy-to-read explanation of five to six sentences accompanied by a full-page photo. Children are the frequent subject of the photos and the text. The book opens by describing Kids Voting USA, a law passed to help children learn about voting. A brief description of the Constitution, the bill-making process and who can become a U.S. Representative follows. The Representative's job, a typical day and their "boss," the Speaker of the House, are also described. Interesting "fun facts" are scattered throughout. The book also features the FactHound, an Internet site with a direct link for this book. When FactHound, "the fact-finding hound dog" fetches related web information, it links the student to several kid-friendly web sites offering additional information about the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Government. Easy to read, colorful, interesting and informative, this is a government "textbook" that primary school students will enjoy using. 2004, Capstone Press, Ages 5 to 9.
Gr 2-4-The best that can be said for these books is that they have decent full-color photographs and additional facts and information at the back. While the writing overall is inconsistent, it is somewhat better in Presidency and Senate. House is quite clunky, and could be confusing for children trying to make sense of the ways of Washington. For example, before readers get to the section describing just what the House is, they read about a nonprofit organization called "Kids Voting USA." Readers are told that, through this group, children can vote for different national leaders and that 38 states of the Union are members. No further information is given on this group, but a glance at the "Kids Voting USA" Web site tells that actually 30 states are members. Only those who read Presidency will learn that citizens cannot vote in actual elections until they are 18. The difference between the House and Senate and their relationship are clearer in Senate. Presidency does a decent job of explaining the history, role, and routines of the president. Stick with the "True Books" (Children's) on Congress and the Presidency.-Jennifer England, The Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.