________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 20 . . . . May 29, 2009

cover Meet My Neighbor, the Chef. (Meet My Neighbor).

Marc Crabtree.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4581-5 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4571-6 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Noseworthy, Neil-Juvenile literature. Cookery-Juvenile literature.
Cooks-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4

cover Meet My Neighbor, the Taekwondo Master. (Meet My Neighbor).

Marc Crabtree.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4582-2 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4572-3 (hc.).

Subject Headings:

Bastien, Alan-Juvenile literature.
Tae kwon do-Juvenile literature.
Martial artists-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4

cover Meet My Neighbor, the Builder. (Meet My Neighbor).

Marc Crabtree.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4580-8 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4570-9 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Stewart, Stephen-Juvenile literature. House construction-Juvenile literature. Construction workers-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4

cover Meet My Neighbor, the Artist. (Meet My Neighbor).

Marc Crabtree.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4579-2 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4569-3 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Scott, David-Juvenile literature.
Painting-Juvenile literature.
Painters-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4

excerpt:

Niki has invited her friend Zena for supper. Natalie is hidden behind her mother. The girls helped their father cook tacos for dinner. (From Meet my Neighbor, the Chef.)

An adult would expect that in a nonfiction book for children, a book that has only 24 pages and no more than three sentences per two-page spread, the text would be informational and important. Not so in the spotty “Meet my Neighbor” series of four titles published by Crabtree and intended to teach young children about the many types of jobs adults do.

     Meet my Neighbor, the Chef is the weakest in the series. The reader realizes, from reading the excerpt above, that writer and photographer Marc Crabtree simply did not take the picture from a proper angle to include everyone in the frame. The chef is then shown in another setting, which one must presume is his workplace since it is not explained. The text informs readers that he is going to cook for a wedding party, and, on the next page, we see him buying one avocado at the grocery store. No further mention is made of the single avocado since Crabtree skips the important part of being a chef - the work it takes to prepare a hot fancy meal for a large gathering.

     What is a child to make of this? How will he/she know what it’s like to be a chef?

     Pictures, but no explanations of the bolded words, are found at the back of the book. These words include ‘refrigerator’ and a picture of a refrigerator, an item that supposedly North American children do not normally see.

     Meet my Neighbor, the Taekwondo Master informs the reader that people wear a uniform called a dobok when they practice this martial art. All the students wear the dobok, but on the following page after this information is imparted, the school owner is shown dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.

     These may be small complaints, but these inconsistencies should not occur at all. They demonstrate slipshod planning and poor editing.

     These books are weak to the point of being boring and unhelpful for children trying to learn about different occupations. At the beginning of Meet my Neighbor, the Builder, the reader is introduced to a man and woman who own a construction company. However, the woman is not shown working at the project until the very end of the book.

     One would also expect to see a picture of the completed project at the end of the book to inspire children about what tradesmen can accomplish with their talents. Instead, we see a bulldozer moving some black mud on the last page. One of the bolded words for which there is a pictorial representation is sink, another item Crabtree thinks is so rare in North American homes that it needs explanation. Similarly, in Meet my Neighbor, the Artist, children are introduced to the words pencil and drawing.

     Children wonder about the world of work as they imagine themselves fitting in as grownups. Books that are written to teach children about different jobs should pay attention to the details to make the books informative and the jobs interesting.

Not 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.
 

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