Monday, January 27, 2014

If You Were Me and Lived In... Turkey ... A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World By Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived In... Turkey... A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World By Carole P. Roman is a new picture book introducing young readers to a new country. This book is the newest edition in a series of picture books focusing on a particular country.  Literally, this book takes only two minutes to read cover to cover but it will hold a child's attention.  This book follows a similar format as the first books in the series about Mexico, South Korea,  and France. Yet in this newest edition, the author makes greater use of a variety of textures and mixed media in producing the illustrations. The water texture, and cloudy sky image  textures add instant appeal to an outdoor city illustration of Instanbul.  The dusky sky backdrop against the illustration  of a simple yet distorted line drawn market and cobblestone road makes for a beautiful and unexpected presentation.  The beautiful sunset and authentic stone  texture adds an authentic appeal and beauty to a simplistic scene. I would like to see this trend continued to a greater degree in future books.  I am happy to see the direction that Roman is taking with the illustrations in her geography picture books. I believe the "Carlesque" styled mixed media illustrations with the simple line cartoons in her  newest book are  an unexpected treat.  Mixed media illustrations are very popular and appealing for young readers as evidenced by the popularity of Eric Carle's kids' books.  By combining geography with mixed media- I believe that Roman will generate even greater interest and attention for her educational series.

This story would also be a good choice for a family that is interested in their Turkish ancestry, a family vacation or even appropriate for pre school children as part of a social studies lesson. This consistency of these geography books makes this series perfect for the school setting. An educator can count on the fact that young children will be introduced to the basics.  The predictability of the book's format will also appeal to younger readers who are familiar with the series.  In this addition to the series, the  child will learn about the geographical location of Turkey and will be  introduced to its climate, tourist attractions- and the impressive Hagia Sophia, local foods,  sports and other social norms. Full color, simply drawn cartoon drawings with the unique  texture accents compliment the text.   The pronunciations at the end of the book introduces the child to the native language but it would be better to have the equivalent English words listed as well and definitions to reinforce the material learned in the story.

At  some point in the future, I would like to see Roman combine all the editions of this series into one larger encyclopedia type of volume in order to create one single comprehensive text.  I would also like to see the illustrations revamped and updated in order to incorporate more of the mixed media textures as well. I believe that her loyal readers would be interested in having all these editions in one book.  To do this would be a wonderful educational and entertaining resource.  This would also make the book more accessible and convenient to educators and schools in the  public and  private sectors as well as  home schoolers.  I am curious to know how Roman determines which countries to feature and whether she will eventually cover the majority of countries around the globe.  As a blogger I received this book for the purpose of writing this review. 

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