Wednesday, February 19, 2014

If You Were Me and Lived In....Children's Book Review

My Comments:  I've enjoyed flipping through this charming set of children's books.  The storyline is pretty much the same in all of them.  They begin with a boy and a girl pointing out the country on a map.  The capital city is identified (India's is New Delhi) and there is a picture of a major feature in the capital (in South Korea it is the Han River).  Next, some common boys' and girls' names are given (in Norway Gunnar, Magnus, Bjorn or Birgitte, Anne or Hellena), and the words for Mommy and Daddy are identified (Mzazi and Baba in Kenya)..  The local currency is named (peso in Mexico) and a local tourist attraction is named and shown (Eiffel Tower in France).  Popular foods are described (tamale in Mexico) as is the favorite local sport (almost always soccer).  We are told about the children's toys as well (skies in Norway).  Finally, we learn a little about a favorite holiday (Mombasa Carnival in Kenya)and then learn what school is called in that country (ecole in France).  The pictures (drawings, not photographs) show the landscape, the insides of homes, the clothing the kids wear and more. Each book ends with a pronunciation guide to help with the country-specific words. In short, there is a lot of information in these short books.  

The author states these books for for kids in pre-k through age 8 and I'd say that's about right.  The limited text and large pictures make it seem too babyish for older kids, though the vocabulary could be a bit much for a younger independent reader.  Honestly, I don't know how most kids would take the repetitive nature of the books--each is basically the same story, only the locations and details have changed.  They aren't really stories, they are child-friendly descriptions of the countries.  

I'd like to thank the author for providing complimentary review copies of these books as well as some goodies for my youngest (a blow-up globe and a pencil).  Grade:  B+.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the lovely review. I'm glad your youngest liked the goodies. I wanted to keep the books uniform, so eventually students could compare countries and find what they all have in common. You noticed the same thing I did about soccer. I am amused by the similar way we all call our parents. I also learned that the word for doll was the same in Russia as it was in Greece. I tried to make the books elastic, so they could be used by a variety of ages. It's up to the educator to decide how deeply they want to explore or research a topic. Thank you once again for an insightful review.


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