________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 32. . . .April 22, 2011

cover

Spotlight on Brazil. (Spotlight On My Country).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3487-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3461-1 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Brazil-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Sherry Faller.

**** /4

   
cover

Spotlight on Italy. (Spotlight On My Country).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3488-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3462-8 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Italy-Juvenile literature.

GradeReviewScore

   
cover

Spotlight on South Africa. (Spotlight On My Country).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3490-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3464-2 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
South Africa-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Sherry Faller.

**** /4

   
cover

Spotlight on the Philippines. (Spotlight On My Country).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3489-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3463-5 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Philippines-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Sherry Faller.

**** /4

   

excerpt:

The Philippines is in the "Ring of Fire" area. More than half of Earth's active volcanoes are in the Pacific Ocean in this area. A volcano is an opening in Earth's crust, or outer layer, which allows hot magma, ash, and gases to escape from below the earth. The Philippines has 50 volcanoes, 18 of which are active. Active volcanoes are volcanoes that can erupt at any time. Most of the Philippines islands were formed from volcanoes. Mount Pinatubo, Mount Mayon, and the Taal Volcano are active volcanoes. They are all on Luzon. (From Spotlight on the Philippines.)

 

Bobbie Kalman's team has focused this "Spotlight on My Country" series on filling the need for books about countries that are easily read by early elementary students. In the past, informational books about countries were dryly written, often with the middle years students as the target audience. The "Spotlight on My Country" series books are well formatted, making research and note-making a breeze.

      The author's style of writing is simple enough for younger or reluctant readers, and many of the bolded words are explained right in the text as well as in the glossary. The clear, uncluttered pages offer interesting facts written in single columns teamed with full colour photographs. Captions also accompany every photo. Special information, such as that about the flag, is framed in colour.

      Each book features a world map showing where the country is found, and then a full-page country map with major cities and islands shows the reader a preview of place names. Following the maps are sections about the land, history, people, and major cities. Farming, fishing and other industries are explained along with terrain and vegetation, and animals. The last sections include the major religions, the various cultures that make up the country's mosaic and finally the cultural celebrations.

      An added challenge that may not be readily observed is the beautiful collection of icon photos that border the tops of all pages. At first glance, they appear to be simply for decoration. But sharp eyes will be able to find each of the pictures elsewhere in the book.

      In Spotlight on Brazil, special features are the amazing Amazon River system and many of the rainforest animals and plants. The past and present lifestyles of the indigenous people are explained. Finally, the exciting Carnaval celebration is shared with colourful photos of the many costumes on parade. Some pictures to search for are the Morpho butterfly, sloth, feathered headdress and a parrot.

      In Spotlight on Italy, of special interest are the volcanoes and the great artists of the Renaissance. Famous buildings, like the leaning Tower of Pisa, are displayed in photos as are the foods, like pizza, spaghetti and gelato, that make Italy famous. This country's biggest festival is Carnevole. Some pictures to search for are pizza, olives, and sculptures.

      In Spotlight on South Africa, five of the eleven languages spoken in South Africa are charted so the reader can see the similarities and differences. City and country lifestyles are compared showing the cities comparable to our large cities and the country life still in the pre-modern times. The separate lives of the people living under the rule of apartheid is explained, and sections about the World Cup soccer games in 2010 and "Into the Future" offer hope for an undivided future South Africa. Some pictures to search for are a cheetah, drums and baskets.

      In Spotlight on the Philippines, the exciting features are the Ring of Fire volcanoes, the beautiful coral reefs and the wild weather patterns of monsoons and typhoons. Also included are the risks of earthquakes and tsunamis. This country celebrates its cultures with fiestas. Some pictures to search for are tropical birds, fish and palm trees.

      Bobbie Kalman's series of books about different countries is a wonderful, up-to-date resource and all the books are highly recommended for any school library.

Highly Recommended.

Sherry Faller 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 - April 22, 2011.

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