________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 10. . . .January 9, 2009

cover

Alien Abduction. (Crabtree Contact).

Anne Rooney.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3784-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3762-9 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Alien abduction-Juvenile literature.
Human-alien encounters-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Chris Laurie.

***½ /4

   
cover

Zombies on the Loose. (Crabtree Contact).

Anne Rooney.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3789-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3767-4 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Zombies-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Chris Laurie.

***½ /4

   
cover

Vampire Castle. (Crabtree Contact).

Anne Rooney.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3788-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3766-7 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Vampires-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Chris Laurie.

***½ /4

   

excerpt:

Dracula's name comes from a real person called Vlad the Third of Romania. He was sometimes called Vlad Dracula.

The name Dracula means "son of Dracul." Dracul was the name of Vlad's father.

He was also called Vlad the Impaler. This was because he had criminals and enemies impaled on spikes.

Vlad lived in a castle in Romania. Some stories say that he was a vampire.

His castle was in a forest, on a mountain-just right for a vampire! (From
Vampire Castle).

 

These three new titles, all written by Anne Rooney, bring the Crabtree Contact Series to 24 volumes. Each title follows the high-interest, low vocabulary style for which the series has become known. The eye-catching covers and abundant photographs and illustrations within are sure to capture the attention of even reluctant readers.

     Each volume is 32 pages in length and contains approximately 45 full-colour photographs and illustrations. A concise overview of each myth is presented, including historic, cultural, and scientific information on each subject. The consistent series format includes a table of contents, a glossary, index, and a brief list of related online resources.

      Alien Abduction explores actual claims of encounters with UFO's and aliens, including three high-profile accounts, such as the Linda Napolitano abduction in 1989 where eyewitnesses included CIA agents. An introduction to historic encounters includes cave paintings in Australia, the Nazca Lines in Peru, and the Roswell incident in the United States. This title concludes with a glossary, an index, and a list of related online resources. Online resources include Canadian information on alien encounters, and the Roswell Museum website includes a video tour.

      Some of the photographic dramatisations in Zombies on the Loose are quite graphic, but this book contains a good overview of zombie legends from around the world, including its basis in African Voodooism. Cases of people accused of being zombies and of people claiming to be zombies are presented, as are scientific theories on zombie-ism. In addition to the glossary and index, the online resources include an impressive site on the science behind how things work, as well as zombie costume tips and photographs of Toronto's Annual Zombie Walk.

      Vampire Castle introduces some vampire myths from around the world. The vampire's historic basis in western culture with Romania's Vlad the Third is compared with China's kuangshi, India's churel, and Malaysia's bajang. As with the other titles in the series, the science behind some of these myths is presented, and real-life bloodsuckers are discussed, including vampire bats, vampire finches, and mosquitoes. Following the glossary and index are the related online resources, which include Library ThinkQuest, an excellent scientific website which includes a dewey-order list of student projects, and National Geographic's website page on vampire bats which includes video footage explaining their social behaviour.

      Each of these titles provides a brief but satisfying introduction to its subject, appropriate for its intended reader. Historic, cultural, and scientific information on each subject is provided and complemented by many visually appealing photographs and illustrations. The information on each topic, though brief, is intriguing and will likely inspire readers to explore the topic more fully. The electronic resources provided are excellent for this purpose, with some just being for fun, some being practical, and some others providing sound information for those who are interested in further information on the subject.

Highly Recommended.

Chris Laurie is a Youth Services Librarian at the West Kildonan Library 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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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