________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 8 . . . . December 7, 2007


Smart-opedia: The Amazing Book About Everything.

Eve Drobot, translator.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2007.
213 pp., pbk. & hc., $24.95 (pbk.), $34.95 (hc.) .
ISBN 978-1-897349-09-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-897349-03-8 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Children’s encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


The Renaissance

In Venice, Florence and Rome, and then throughout Europe, there was a renewed passion for the ideas and arts of the Ancient World. And in this “rebirth” of classical ideas, new ideas were born. Painters, architects and writers became famous, and princes became their admirers and protectors. Artists like Michelangelo and Leonard da Vinci created masterpieces. Thanks to the printing press, there were more books, and they could be made more cheaply, so ideas were able to spread throughout society.

     From its eye-catching cover to the plethora of information inside, this highly appealing general reference book provides answers to kids’ questions about a variety of subjects. The book is divided into nine chapters, covering such topics as astronomy, the Earth, plants, animals, the human body, history, the arts, science and technology, and today’s world (this chapter deals with changing borders, lifestyles of people in different countries, and present-day issues such as human rights and pollution). Within each theme, there are several fact boxes providing such information as myths and legends, historical facts, biography highlights, timelines, career descriptions and information bubbles, all related to the topic. Special sections entitled “Know-It-All News” offer a more in-depth focus on one aspect of the topic. For example, in the chapter about animals, one of the news sections features mammoths, whereas in the chapter about today’s world, voting in an election is highlighted.
     The book is arranged so that students can select just a page or two to read about a specific area of interest rather than reading the book from start to finish. Each sub-topic, presented in a double-page spread, is introduced by a general paragraph supported by additional, more specific information by means of the fact boxes and timelines mentioned above. The text is infused with humour, where appropriate, as are the wonderful cartoon-like illustrations. Colour photographs, maps and diagrams further enhance the text.
     Thoroughly engaging, Smart-opedia has a definite place in school and public libraries as well as in personal collections.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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