________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 7 . . . . November 21, 2008

cover China: The Culture. 2nd. Rev. Ed. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9669-8 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-9301-X (hc.).

Subject Heading:
China-Social life and customs-1976-2002-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by J. Lynne Fraser.

**½ /4

   
cover China: The People. 2nd. Rev. Ed. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9668-X (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-9300-1 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
China-Social conditions-1976-2000-Juvenile literature.
China-Social life and customs-1976-2002-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by J. Lynne Fraser.

**½ /4

   
cover China: The Land. 2nd. Rev. Ed. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9667-1 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-9299-4 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
China-Description and travel-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by J. Lynne Fraser.

**½ /4

The books written by Bobbie Kalman for the China portion of "The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series" are easy to read. The bolded words in the texts correspond to helpful and straightforward glossaries in the back section of the books, although some words, such as the word 'harrow,' from China: The Land, should have been included in that book's glossary. The layout of the pages, the sentences with generous leading, and the colourful photographs will hold the attention of young readers. Kalman should be complimented for her inclusion of political and environmental issues in the books as well.

     There are lovely side stories in the books. In China: The Land, Kalman notes that cormorants, used by fishers to collect fish, know when they are due their share of the fish caught.

A dozen trips later its collar is loosened, and the bird is allowed to swallow one fish before going back to work. If the fisher happens to lose count and tries to take the twelfth fish from the cormorant, the bird protests noisily.

     There is an omission, however, in this section as the author does not mention the destructive bottom-trawling fishing practices for which China is currently criticized.

     There are also inconsistencies in the texts. In China: The People, Tiananmen Square protests are described as being "almost forgotten" (p. 4), yet in China: The People it is noted that "there is no public discussion" of the protests (p. 31). Forgetting the protests is not the same as not being able to publicly discuss them. The description of the protests with "hundreds" (p. 4) of people killed versus "thousands" (p. 31) needs to be fact checked and written about consistently.

     Some statements in the books need clarification. For instance in China: The People, there is a comment that, in some instances, families undergo an "enforced separation" because one of the marriage partners is forced to take a government job in a "faraway city." One wonders why such a policy was in place.

     As well, in this text, the section on schooling makes no mention of the few specialized and highly competitive high schools designed to train select high school students for the vigorous entrance exams to China's two main universities. Without high scores, the majority of these few select students will not win a placement in these universities and this determines the direction of the rest of their lives.

     China: The Culture gives a good broad overview of the various cultures, traditions and beliefs that contribute to China as a whole. The inclusion of the recipe for Harvest Moon cookies is a nice touch and would enable young readers to feel a connection to the culture about which they are reading. The Chinese horoscope is another nice touch for young readers.

     Overall the books will give young readers a broad, colourful, and politically and environmentally aware view of China.

Recommended.

Located in Toronto, ON, J. Lynn Fraser is an author and freelance writer whose magazine articles appear in national and international publications.

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 - November 21, 2008.

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