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

cover

Charts and Graphs. (Social Studies Essential Skills).

Heather C. Hudak & James Duplacey.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-449-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-448-4 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Charts, diagrams, etc.-Juvenile literature.
Graphic methods-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**½ /4

   
cover

Civics. (Social Studies Essential Skills).

Liz Brown.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc, $9.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-443-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-442-2 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Civics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**½ /4

   
cover

Reference Materials. (Social Studies Essential Skills).

Liz Brown.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-451-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-450-7 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Reference books-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**½ /4

   
cover

Mapping. (Social Studies Essential Skills).

Heather C. Hudak.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-447-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55388-446-0 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Cartography-Juvenile literature.
Maps-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**½ /4

   

excerpt:

What is Civics?

Civics is the study of the rights and duties that come with being a member of a country. Members of a country are called citizens. A citizen is a person who lives in a given place and has relationships with other people in that place.

Citizenship refers to the laws of a place or the shared values, traditions, and beliefs of the people who live there. Citizens of Canada have many personal freedoms that are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This document gives people the freedom to speak their opinion, practise different religions, and be treated equally by others. (From
Civics).

 

The "Social Studies Essential Skills" series touches on key elements of the social studies curriculum over many grades, skills that spill over into math and language arts. With some reservations, the books in this series can prove useful to students working on projects in social studies and other subject areas. They bear a 2009 copyright date and contain listings of websites for students to consult for further information. Reference Materials reminds students to confirm the accuracy of Internet resources, especially, since they may be authored by anyone, no matter their qualifications. It also advises students on how to do effective searching on the Internet. This is a valuable tool for students since the Internet is a treasure-trove of information but consumes inordinate amounts of time when surfed inefficiently.

     The setup of all four books is identical, making them accessible for young people. However, the bolded words explained in the glossary seem randomly chosen. For example, in Civics, the word 'values' is bolded and explained in the glossary. Since the book is all about what society values, that word should be explained in the text. The word 'legislature' is bolded on p. 13, in an explanation about Elijah Harper's decision to oppose the Meech Lake Accord in 1990. But, if it is important to explain that word, then why not explain that the Meech Lake Accord was an initiative of the federal government, and what constituency that represents. Attention to the purpose of the article and the editing process could eliminate the glossaries in many of these books. On p. 12 of Civics, it states: "Governments collect taxes. They provide sanitation services, such as garbage disposal. Governments also maintain a military that protects the country in times of war." 'Taxes' is later defined as "money that workers contribute to the government to help pay for roads, schools, and other services." Taxes are not contributed. They are demanded, required, enforced by law; hence the word 'tax.' They are paid by all citizens, not just 'workers.' And wouldn't a young reader be better served by having that explanation within the text, since the text is about how and why government works? On p. 10 of Mapping, under Learning about Landforms and Bodies of Water, one reads, "There are many types of landforms, such as mountains, canyons, valleys, plateaus, deserts, archipelagos, and plains." Why has this one landform been singled out for explanation? Why not 'canyons' or 'plateaus,' both uncommon words as well?

      The books use examples from Canadian history in the exercises for students to practice the skills being taught an positive way to integrate teaching with skill development. It would be even much better if Weigl paid closer attention to all the details right from the conception of the series. It wouldn't cost them a penny but might even make the series stronger and result in greater sales. In general, though, the content is correct and the organization is standard and easy for students to use, and the books are suitable to the target age group.

Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman 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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

NEXT REVIEW | TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - January 9, 2009.

AUTHORS | TITLES | MEDIA REVIEWS | PROFILES | BACK ISSUES | SEARCH | CMARCHIVE | HOME