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W is for Washington Review by Susan K. Marlow

By Students from Wenatchee High School
Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company
3019 NW Yeon
Portland, OR 97210

It's not often one sees a high-quality, full-color, hardback picture book by kids, for kids. But W is for Washington is just that, written by high-school students from Wenatchee, Washington, for children ages 4 and up. Full of dazzling photos of animals, plants, and places around Washington, this thirty-page library-type book is a delightful poetry walk through my home state. Each letter of the alphabet, A to Z, is combined with a picture and a short poetry couplet. The verses are not only fun to read, but also give readers information unique to Washington. For example, the letter "C is for Cougar" shows a photograph of a cougar, along with this couplet:

"A fierce wild cat or a team playing ball--
Watch the Cougars against the Huskies in the Apple Cup this fall."

Or "J is for Strait of Juan de Fuca":
"The strait of Juan de Fuca with waters so blue,
Is home to salmon, seals, and orca whales too."

In addition to the short, bright pages of alphabet letters (one letter per glossy page), the simple facts presented in the poetry section are expanded at the back of the book. For example, the couplet about the cougar goes on to include information about cougars--how many live in Washington, how high they can jump, and how much they weigh. These are small "bites" young children can "sink their teeth" into. An extra bonus--a photograph of the students who wrote the book, along with their names--is included on the last page.

So far, the Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company's state series includes C is for California, O is for Oregon, and W is for Washington. I hope these three launch titles are the beginning of a full line-up, highlighting each of our fifty states. This is a great little home-school resource for studying state history and geography with younger children, grades K-3.

Product Review by Susan K. Marlow, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2009