________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 4. . . . October 18, 2002

cover El Salvador: The People and Culture. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Greg Nickles.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9736-8 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9368-0 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
El Salvador-Social life and customs-21st century-Juvenile literature.
El Salvador-History-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
cover El Salvador: The Land. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Greg Nickles.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9735-X (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9367-2 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
El Salvador-Description and travel-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
Mexico: The Land. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9729-5 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9361-3 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Mexico-Description and travel-Juvenile literature.
Mexico-Social conditions-Juvenile literature.
Mexico-Economic conditions-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
cover Mexico: The Culture. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9731-7 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9363-X (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Mexico-Civilization-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
cover Mexico: The People. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9730-9 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9362-1 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Mexico-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.
Mexico-Social conditions-Juvenile literature.
Mexico-Economic conditions-1970-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
cover Spain: The Land. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Noa Lior and Tara Steele.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9732-5 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9364-8 (cl.).

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

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
cover Spain: The Culture. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Noa Lior and Tara Steele.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9734-1 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9366-4 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Spain-Civilization-Juvenile literature
Spain-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
cover Spain: The People. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Noa Lior and Tara Steele.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9733-3 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9365-6 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Spain-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
  Canada: The Land. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9726-0 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9358-3 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Canada-Juvenile literature.
Canada-Geography-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
  Canada: The Culture. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9728-7 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9360-5 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Canada-Civilization-1945-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
  Canada: The People. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.).
ISBN 0-7787-9727-9 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9359-1 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Canada-Social conditions-Juvenile literature.
Canada-Economic conditions-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
cover Vietnam: The Land. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.)

ISBN 0-7787-9723-6 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9355-9 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Vietnam-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
cover Vietnam: The Culture. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.)

ISBN 0-7787-9725-2 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9357-5 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Vietnam-Civilization-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
cover Vietnam: The People. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.96 (pbk.), $19.16 (cl.)

ISBN 0-7787-9724-4 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-9356-7 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Vietnam-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.
.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

excerpt:

El Salvador's most famous volcano is Izalco, which is nicknamed "El Faro del Pacifico" or "Lighthouse of the Pacific". Salvadorans say that this black, barren mountain was once just a hole in the ground. Beginning in 1770, the hole spewed smoke and glowing-hot lava almost continuously until the 1960s, building the volcano into the mountain it is today. Izalco glowed so brightly that sailors used it as a lighthouse to guide their ships at night. (From El Salvador: The Land.)

Written in mini-series format, each set of books celebrates the beauty of the featured country and the diversity of its people. Averaging 12 chapters, each of the titles includes a table of contents, a glossary and an index. Vibrant, full-colour photographs, diagrams and maps, all suitably labelled, enhance the text. In fact, in many cases, the photographs could even stand on their own. The text, written in fairly simple language, is fluent and interesting. All of the series books have the same format in layout, text font and style. Though there are some differences in topics covered (due to the unique features, problems or contributions of the various countries), generally, the range of topics is similar. A particular strength of the series is that it portrays each country in a realistic manner, flaws and all. For example, the titles on Mexico and El Salvador speak of the poverty of many of the residents, while the Vietnam books give children an age appropriate explanation of the Vietnam War.

     Books on the land contain information on the physical features, climate, people, major cities, flora and fauna, natural resources, industry and transportation of each country. Interesting facts, such as Spain's Canary Islands being home to 600 plants unseen anywhere else in the world, will cause readers, perhaps, to view these countries in a different light.

     In the titles on people, the focus is on the variety of the lifestyles of the nation's inhabitants: their religion, daily life, food, clothing, sports and pastimes. These volumes portray the featured countries as lands of many contrasts: rich versus poor; city life versus country life: and modern versus ancient traditions. History, heroes and the country's struggle for independence are also discussed. Canada's volume contains an honest look at racism (the treatment of the Chinese workers who built the railway, the Japanese-Canadians after the Second World War, and First Nations people). One section of the book on Vietnam describes the many types of housing there: houseboats, crowded apartment buildings, houses built on stilts to keep water and wild animals out, longhouses with room for 30-40 people and huts with roofs made of palm branches and sugar cane leaves. Perhaps the most interesting fact in the same volume is that a spoken word can have two different meanings, depending on the tone of voice used. This situation not only creates misunderstandings but can also generate a few giggles.

     The culture books begin with a history of the country and often include a section on famous people from ancient times to the present. Information on major religions and their holidays, traditions and celebrations serves to give readers a better understanding of the diverse cultures around the world. Equal billing is given to all of the country's people and religions (a section in the Vietnam book depicts a day in the life of a Buddhist monk, while another part talks about astrology and Vietnamese people's superstitious beliefs). Art, music, theatre, dance, architecture and language are also highlighted as well as the contributions that the people have made to the global society. It is interesting to note that the Spanish have had a great influence on the societies both of Mexico and El Salvador. The Spanish have also contributed to the art world through the works of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. And Canada, often nicknamed "Hollywood North," has given the world many actors, musicians, comedians, as well as the famed "Cirque du Soleil." From Vietnamese water puppets to Spanish classical and Flamenco guitar, from jai alai to bullfights, each of the cultures featured has made significant contributions.

     Crabtree's authors have successfully captured the flavour of each of the countries highlighted. An excellent series, designed to foster an understanding and greater appreciation of world communities. Its format will be helpful to students looking for specific information.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, 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

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