If You Were Me and Lived In... Scotland is one of the newest editions to the "A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World" series By Carole P. Roman. The art contained in this volume is the most impressive yet. The mixed media cartoon art combined with beautiful scenic photos bring new life to the subject of geography. These books take only minutes to read cover to cover but they will give any child a comprehensive view of the geography and culture of a particular country. These books follows a similar format as the other books in the series about Mexico, Hungary, Peru, South Korea, and France as well as many others. Yet in each successive edition, the art is more impressive as the author makes an even greater use of a variety of textures and mixed media in producing the illustrations.
When learning about Scotland, the photograph of the ancient yet majestic castle jumps out at the reader, as it serves as the backdrop against a clear, pale blue sky with the two traditionally dressed tour guide children. The sky and the emerald colored grass makes for a beautifully realistic and unexpected layout. The beautiful mountains, stone tiles and other authentic details and textures add appeal and beauty to the simplistic cartoon scenes. There is even reference to the beloved tale of the Loch Ness!
The cartoon tour guides will certainly capture the attention of all young readers as well as parents and educators. I believe the "Carlesque" styled mixed media illustrations with the simple line cartoons in her books 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 sets her books apart from cartoon only illustrations.
These stories would also be a good choice for a family that is interested in their ancestry, a family vacation or even appropriate for children as part of a social studies lesson. The 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 each addition to the series, the child will learn about the geography and will be introduced to its climate, tourist attractions 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.
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. Roman continues to add titles to this series. It would be great to see this series used as part of a grade school geography or social studies curriculum. It is clear that each book, though simple in design, presents a wealth of information and research. This book as well as the series is available on Amazon and B&N. As a blogger I received these books for the purpose of writing this review.