More reviews

Here are 3 more book reviews for you to consider.  Please let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them.

This time I thought I’d focus on non-fiction.  Sarah

100 Things You Should Know about Myths and Legends

Fiona Macdonald

Consultant: Rupert Matthews

      Myths and legends have been around since there have been people.  It’s a way of explaining the unkown and before the written word was how people told each other what had happened earlier.  As with any story, the truth gets distorted as the tale is spread along—just like the telephone game.  One would hope giving students a taste of centuries-old myths will inspire them to look up the whole myth and help them recognize the folklore found in more modern stories, movies and videos. The book is divided into sections on heroes, villains, monsters, love, wars, gods, creation, the planet, and magical animals, among others.  Plus there are sidebars scattered through the book adding further information and quizzes to reinforce the information.  Perhaps the inclusion of such people as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Princess Diana was intended to encourage children to see the relevance of legends, but then the editors would have been better off using more modern people—Princess Di is ancient history to most 8 year olds and Brad Pitt is older than their parents.  The cover art is confusing also, since Pegasus, the winged horse, is shown but never mentioned. Even a short bibliography would have been helpful.

BIBLIO: 2011 (orig. 2009,) Mason Crest Publishers Inc., Ages 8 to 12, $19.95.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Middle Reader

ISBN: 978-1-4222-2002-3

ISBN: 978-1-4222-1993-5

100 Things You Should Know about the Seashore

Steve Parker

Consultant: Camilla de la Bedoyere

      Did you know there are seashores all over the planet—from pole to pole and every where in between?  Each seashore has its own ecosystem of plants and animals. Where the salty ocean meets the land affects the terrain and type of beach.  This book gives brief, but good, descriptions of the various types of environments.  For instance, several bits of information describe how the action of the waves eats away at the land and there is a simple experiment to try which help the reader visualize the erosion in action.  The sidebars scattered through the book give extra information, but perhaps should have been titled differently—“I Don’t Believe It!” lends an air of doubt to the information. The data is divided into sections dealing with the coastal land, battle between land and sea, types of coastline, ecosystems and people’s affect on shorelines.  It is our job to protect the land and sea on our planet and we’ve not been doing a great job.  The experiments scattered through out the book are interesting and helpful. The graphics and photos are clear and helpful, making the book a useful tool in tweaking students’ interest in marine studies, but even a short bibliography would have been helpful. This is one of fifteen books exploring various subjects, including mythology and legends.

BIBLIO: 2011 (orig. 2010,) Mason Crest Publishers Inc., Ages 8 to 12, $19.95.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Middle Reader

ISBN: 978-1-4222-2006-1

ISBN: 978-1-4222-1993-5

Flood and Monsoon Alert!

Rachel Eagen

      Never underestimate the power of rushing water.  It can sweep a car off the road or uproot a tree.  Water is vital to the survival of all living things on this planet, but this book points out the dangers it can present also.  Monsoons occur naturally in many parts of the globe, so the inhabitants of the area learn to cope with the rain during this season.  They depend on the water the monsoon delivers to grow their crops and replenish their water supplies; still the people are wary of the amount of water sending rivers and lakes out of their channels to flood the adjacent land.  This book describes the life of a flood and what causes monsoon winds to bring in summer water or winter dryness.  It also has information on how to prepare for a flood and photos of historic floods, although there seems to be no rhyme or reason to as to order in which the floods are presented.  Presented as Guided Reading Level Q,” the book gives a good overview and can lead the reader to explore any of the areas mentioned.  It would be a better resource if it had a more comprehensive bibliography than just a few websites.

BIBLIO: 2011, Crabtree Publishing Company, Ages 8 to 10, $8.95.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Chapter Book

ISBN: 978-0-7787-1591-7

ISBN: 978-0-7787-1624-2

One thought on “More reviews

  1. I haven’t read any of these but the ones about myths and legends sounds interesting. The YA novel I’m working on now is all about Greek and Roman myth, but with a contemporary spin.

    I don’t have a lot of time for non fiction, but the last one I read was called A Day in the Life of Rome. It was very good.

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