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Earth Facts for Earthlings--Book 2: The United States Review by Dr. Anne Margaret WrightKathy D. Stewart, PhD
127 W. Fairbanks Ave., Suite 436
Winter Park, Florida 32789
If you liked Earth Facts for Earthlings--Book 1, you are going to love the sequel, Earth Facts for Earthlings--Book 2: The United States ($12.95)! Dr. Stewart has taken the often dry topic of geography and made it so interesting, kids (and their parents) have a hard time putting these books down. She uses wonderful, bright, full color pictures, maps, and graphics to bring the topics to life, along with fascinating information about the individual states and the country as a whole. This is not intended to be a comprehensive study of U.S. geography, although it would be an excellent supplement that would leave kids begging for more. The dedication says it all: "Especially for: reluctant learners and willing ones, the easily bored and the persistent, those who know geography is fun and those who wish it were."
One excellent feature in Book 2 is the diagrams with a picture representing each state, all broken down into sections of the U.S. For example, for the Central States, Texas is represented by a lawn covered by tacks (which sounds like "Texas"). On top of the lawn is a house made from oak to remind the student of Oklahoma. On top of the oak house is a set of cans (Kansas) and a brass key (Nebraska). At the top are two coats flying from poles to represent South Dakota and North Dakota. This clever mnemonic device helps kids visually learn where each state is located, and often something about the state as well. There are also often definitions or other information included as footnotes to make the text more clear. Many of the pages ask questions and then lead the reader through clues to help him discover the answer. The book ends with some clever quizzes to review what the reader has learned.
Earth Facts for Earthlings would be an excellent overview of U.S. geography for about grade 4 and up, depending on the interest level and reading skills of the student, but even high schoolers would likely enjoy the interesting articles and fascinating facts. There is little information about the capitals of the various states, which would be a nice addition. This is a book you can study together from start to finish as a supplement for a more detailed geography course, or one that you can just keep on the shelf for your kids to enjoy. We were very impressed with the quality of the illustrations and pictures, the amount of information included in the 64-page book, and the fascinating content that easily draws the reader in. I cannot wait to see the next book!