Wednesday, December 30, 2015
If You Were Me and Lived In... Italy, by Carole P. Roman's illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga
The mixed media cartoon art combined with beautiful
scenic photos bring Italy to life in an entirely new way for young readers. 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. This volume about Italy follows a similar format as the other books in the series including Mexico, Hungary, Peru, South Korea, and France as well as many others. Yet in each successive edition, the art continues to be more impressive with the variety of textures and mixed media in producing the illustrations.
When reading about Italy, the photograph of the ancient yet majestic Roman architecture jumps out at the reader, as it serves as the backdrop against an evening sunset, featuring a glowing rainbow of colors. There is a beautiful areal view of the Vatican. There is a lively spread featuring the famous tourist attraction, the Coliseum. There is an evening view of a football game as well. The beautiful stone tiles and other authentic details and textures add appeal and beauty to the simplistic cartoon scenes. In one illustration of a traditional meal, even the slice of meat has a textured pattern.
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.
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 other books in the series is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. As a blogger I received this books for the purpose of writing this review.