________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 18 . . . . January 15, 2010

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A City. (My First Look at Communities).

Valerie Bodden.
Collingwood, ON: Saunders Book Co., 2010.
24 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-926722-29-0.

Subject Heading:
City and town life-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4

   
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A Farming Town. (My First Look at Communities).

Valerie Bodden.
Collingwood, ON: Saunders Book Co., 2010.
24 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-926722-30-6.

Subject Heading:
Country life-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4

These books belong in the "Don't judge a book by its pretty cover" pile. The information in the text is imprecise, and the photographs are out of date or do not correspond with the captions. The books will be of no benefit to a teacher or parent who is trying to teach a young child even the most minimal accurate information about a city or a farming town.

     A few examples:

1. "Farming towns are fun places. You can look at the animals on the farms near the town. You can help feed them. You can watch tractors work in the fields.

Farming towns are great place to take long walks. You can ride our bike through farming towns, too. Some farming towns have good sports for picnics. Some have a pond or river to swim in."

     The above paragraphs are opposite a shot of a train crossing the empty prairie. There is one picture of a farming town in this book, and it's a distant shot, so no streets or shops are visible. There are only two human beings in the pictures - one a fireman and the other the back of a man milking a cow. There is no life of a town, nor life of a farm - no children, no activity. Under the photograph of some sleeping piglets is the text, "There are all kinds of farms, including pumpkin farms, tree farms and bee farms." Below that: "In the spring, chicks and piglets are born." No chicks are visible.

     2. In A City, a night shot of a downtown spreads across pages 10 and 11. At first I thought this must be Times Square since there are a lot of bright lights. But on closer inspection, it's an old picture of a downtown somewhere. How old? The marquee on the movie theatre is showing "Steel Town" starring Ann Sheridan, John Lund and Howard Duff. "Steel Town" was released in 1952. That old.

     Is this supposed book to educate a child about modern cities?

     3. A photograph of an imposing building sits atop a piece of text that reads, "Toronto is the biggest city in Canada. It has a castle that people can visit!" The picture is not Casa Loma (if that's the defining structure in Toronto), and is not identified, nor is the city.

     The most general information has been dumped into these books, and the publishers seem to have mined the reject pile of a photographic archive to find the cheapest pictures to dump in as illustrations.

     Eager young learners deserve better. Don't waste your money - there are a lot better resources for children out there.

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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