CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 15 . . . .March 21, 2008
The "Crabtree Visual Dictionaries" series is a well-designed, researched and illustrated set of resources perfectly suited to students in the elementary grades. The set consists of four volumes which are beautifully detailed and illustrated, each one dedicated to a particular historic community. Kalman introduces the four communities - colonial, native, old west and pioneer - in the form of four visual dictionaries or picture-information books. Each book has 32 pages and a table of contents divided into 14 topics or themes that appear as two-page spreads in the volume that follows. Each chapter topic (for instance, the "Pioneer Farm" or "Children's Games" from A Visual Dictionary of a Pioneer Community) begins with a short introduction and then is expanded over the two pages with many historic illustrations and photographs, all carefully labeled and captioned. The mix of text and illustration is well-suited to young readers and researchers. It is clear that every effort has been made to preserve historical authenticity and to present it in a way which will appeal to readers from 6 to 11. As well as the excellent full colour photographs and illustrations, there is glossary and index in each book.
Excellent as these resources are for teachers in U.S. classrooms, it must be noted that the emphasis in all of four of these volumes is on U.S. history. Although there is some information that is pertinent to Canadian students (notably in A Visual Dictionary of Native Communities and A Visual Dictionary of a Pioneer Community), elementary teachers of Canadian history in Canadian schools are not likely to find this set particularly useful for use in their social studies classrooms. With the above reservation, the series is—
Valerie Nielsen, a retired teacher-librarian, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.