If You Were Me and Lived In... India... A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World By Carole P. Roman is the newest picture book introducing young readers to a new country. 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. This book is also significantly longer than the previous editions in this series with notably longer passages of text. This will draw in a wider range of ages including older elementary readers.
The book starts with a simple illustration of India and its capital. This is followed by a simple cartoon of a globe depicting the relative location of India. It is far from an exact drawing and is very stylistic. The simplicity aids in memory retention. The cloudy sky image textures, photographic in quality, add instant appeal to an outdoor city illustration of New Delhi. The dusky twilight sky backdrop against the illustration of a simple cartoon of a traditional Indian family makes for a beautiful and unexpected presentation. The beautiful sunset and authentic fabric pattern and texture adds an authentic appeal and beauty to a simplistic scene. The taj Mahal two page spread is impressive and visually appealing. The bold text over the full color page spreads gives a busy atmosphere.
I would like to see this trend of mixed media texture continued 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 Indian ancestry, or even appropriate for 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 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 India and will be introduced to its climate, traditional clothing, tourist attractions, theater and the 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.