School Library Journal
These three series use simple language to answer questions that kids commonly ask. The subjects are introduced through stories of fictional children or by encouraging readers to remember times they’ve encountered the service, food, or structure, and then discuss aspects of how it is made or how it works. Critical thinking is encouraged with sidebars titled “Look!” “Think!” “Create!” and “Make a Guess!” Titles in the “How Did That Get to My House?” series are sporadically current. For example, Telephone covers land lines, fiber optic cables, and cell phones, but doesn’t mention calls that can be made using the Internet. Focusing primarily on the mass production of food, the “How Did That Get to My Table?” books explore how the everyday items that most children love such as cereal, pasta, and ice cream arrive in their local grocery stores. Readers will become familiar with the names of machinery used to harvest the produce, such as a “combine.” The somewhat banal texts also explain other terms key to food production, such as "homogenization" and “pasteurization.” Packaging and transportation are also discussed. Big structures surround us and “How Did They Build That?” provides straightforward answers to how they were built. Each title discusses the planning involved, including the work of architects and engineers, and then moves on to construction, including information on the types of workers required such as plumbers and electricians. Road stands out because it provides specific information as to how a road is built as opposed to the more general nature of the other titles. The narratives in all three series are complemented by engaging, full-page photographs, whose captions further illuminate the texts, and by the recommendation of several online and print further-reading suggestions.
SLJ Fall 2009 Series Made Simple
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