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April 15, 2014

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Reference Review: October 2012

BARNES-SVARNEY, Patricia & Thomas E. Svarney. The Handy Math Answer Book. 512p. (The Handy Answer Book Series). appendix. charts. diags. illus. index. photos. Visible Ink Press. 2012. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781578593736; ebook $21.95. ISBN 9781578593866.
Gr 10 Up–Students who have wondered, “What is the ‘music of the spheres’?”; “How do astronomers determine the distances to the stars?”; or “What is a problem with our modern calendar?” can find the answers to those questions and many more in this engaging work. The text is clear and concise and is understandable to lay readers, while not oversimplified. The question-and-answer entries are arranged in chapters such as “Math Basics,” “Algebra,” “Applied Mathematics,” “Math in the Physical Sciences,” “Everyday Math,” and “Recreational Math.” Illustrations are varied and include tables and charts that enhance and clarify the text and photographs, engravings, and drawings of famous mathematicians. This worthwhile resource will provide valuable background information to budding math experts; teachers will also enjoy posing these questions to their students.-–Stephanie Farnlacher, Trace Crossings Elementary School, Hoover, AL

BELLENIR, Karen. Diabetes Information for Teens: Health Tips About Managing Diabetes and Preventing Related Complications. 400p. (Teen Health Series). charts. diags. index. websites. CIP. Omnigraphics. 2012. PLB $69. ISBN 978-0-7808-1218-5. LC 2011038652.
Gr 8 Up–Providing primary-source excerpts from reliable sources such as the National Diabetes Education Program, KidsHealth, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this title offers useful facts and statistics about diabetes. Information is presented in five major parts: “Understanding Diabetes,” “Medical Management of Diabetes,” “Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Weight Management,” “Mental Health and Lifestyle Issues,” and “The Physical Complications of Diabetes.” The tone of the writing is not uniform throughout, as some of the short chapters are reprinted articles that can be quite technical, but all together, this is a solid overview of the condition that will be helpful to report writers and to those looking for personal health tips. A plus is the website information for diabetes-friendly recipes and cookbooks.-–Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library

HAYES, Patrick J. The Making of Modern Immigration: An Encyclopedia of People and Ideas. 2 vols. 828p. bibliog. charts. notes. photos. CIP. ABC-CLIO. 2012. PLB $189. ISBN 978-0-313-39202-3; ebook $189. ISBN 978-0-313-39203-0. LC 2011026347.
Gr 9 Up–Hayes and contributors succeed in the goal outlined in the introduction: to make the “past intelligible and interesting to those who are searching for fresh insight and accurate information on the assembled subjects.” The 45 lengthy entries, which are expansive in scope, solid in scholarship, and compelling in argument, demonstrate that since the beginning of our nation’s history, many giants of the American intellectual and social milieu have stood on both sides of the debate. The individually signed pieces tackle movements (“Sanctuary Movement”), laws (“The Yellow Peril: The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) to the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924”), and controversial issues (“Immigration and Customs Enforcement”). Notable figures are given extensive coverage, too; a piece on Denis Kearney, for example, that details the Irishman’s racist and nativist activities, follows one covering Thomas Jefferson (readers are informed that the man “flinched at the prospect of immigrants bringing in strange languages and stranger political principles”). Each essay is accompanied by copious source notes and an expansive bibliography. Excellent.-–Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL

JOHNSON, Cynthia. Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th- and 21st- Century America. rev. ed. 6 vols. 1650p. chron. further reading. illus. index. photos. CIP. Gale. 2012. PLB $410. ISBN 978-1-4144-1165-1. LC 2012002579.
Gr 6 Up–With articles on commerce, film and theater, music, sports, TV, food, fashion, and other aspects of life, this set presents the most important people, places, or things in recent U.S. history, decade by decade. The cross-referenced articles, which vary from less than a page to two pages in length, are fact-filled and lively. As well as adding information on the 21st century, many of the articles have been updated with additional further-reading resources since the 2002 edition; there are also more illustrations and they are now in color. Entries are listed in alphabetical order and by topic category. While the “Cultural History of the United States Through the Decades” series (Lucent) offers similar coverage, it provides fewer illustrations and additional resources; Gale’s “American Decades” series boasts more information but is aimed at older users. Students who need information for reports will find good introductory information and a solid base for further research here, and general users will find quick short answers to historical questions. With the push in the Common Core Standards for more text complexity and the use of narrative nonfiction, teachers will also appreciate this work.-–Ann West LaPrise, Huron School District, New Boston, MI

KINGFISHER. The Kingfisher History
Encyclopedia
. 496p. Kingfisher. 2012. Tr $32.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6875-3.
Gr 5 Up–Concise and intriguing, these entries are arranged in chronological sections (“The Middle Ages, 1101-1460,” “The World at War, 1914-1949”) that open with an overview of the period and present approximately 25 chapter spreads each on various events and figures of the era. The material covers from the ancient world to today and includes snippets on the success of Alexander the Great, the Viking longships design that was created to ward off evil, Florence Nightingale’s response to serving in the Crimean War, the birth of the United States, the Cold War, and space exploration. Each chapter features a box listing key dates and pages are capped by a time line that will keep readers in tune with the progress of change. The numerous color illustrations per page include captioned maps and photographs or (on the pages covering earlier times) illustrations of places, artifacts, events, and people. Each section concludes with a deeper look at the arts, architecture, and science and technology of the time. With an engaging writing style and colorful and informative images, this book will have a general appeal that will extend beyond report usage.-–Beth McGuire, Hempfield Area School District, Greensburg, PA

PHILANDER, S. George. Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change. 3 vols. 1720p. SAGE. 2012. Tr $375. ISBN 978-1-4129-9261-9. LC 2012002545.
Gr 10 Up–With 40 new articles (“Climate-Gate,” “Obama Administration”) and extensive revision to the rest of the content, this updated version of the 2008 edition offers students and, to use the editor’s quaint term, “laymen” close looks at recent developments. The set also examines broad historical, scientific, national, geographical, political, and thematic pictures of climate change’s mechanisms, effects, and controversies. Along with topical entries ranging from “Abrupt Climate Changes” to “Community-Based Adaptation,” the alphabetically arranged articles include separate discussions about each country and each state in the U.S., biographies of major climatologists, and profiles of a large number of relevant academic and other organizations. The previous edition’s color section has been dropped (though the online version of the work features color and multimedia enhancements), but the articles are interspersed with generous quantities of charts, tables, and black-and-white photos. Most articles close with cross-references and citations for further reading aplenty—backed up by an extensive guide to general subject resources and a comprehensive index, both in Volume 3. A high overall level of technical and mathematical detail makes this most suitable for academic environments, though advanced students can manage it. The amount of new material on such a high-demand subject gives this revision a leg up over both the first edition and older resources such as Steven I. Dutch’s Encyclopedia of Global Warming (Salem, 2009), which is for the same audience as this work.-–John Peters, Children’s Literature Consultant, New York

ROLLYSON, Carl. African American Culture. ISBN 978-1-42983-687-6.
–––– . Asian Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-688-3.
–––– . Detective & Mystery Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-675-3.
–––– . English Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-689-0.
–––– . Fantasy Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-676-0.
–––– . French Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-690-6.
–––– . German Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-691-3.
–––– . Gothic Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-678-4.
–––– . Irish Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-692-0.
–––– . Italian Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-693-7.
–––– . Latin American Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-695-1.
–––– . Native American Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-696-8.
–––– . Naturalist Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-679-1.
–––– . Novelists of the Jewish Culture. ISBN 978-1-42983-694-4.
–––– . Novelists with Feminist Themes. ISBN 978-1-42983-684-5.
–––– . Novelists with Gay and Lesbian Themes. ISBN 978-1-42983-677-7.
–––– . Picaresque Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-680-7.
–––– . Political Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-681-4.
–––– . Psychological Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-682-1.
–––– . Religious Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-686-9
–––– . Russian Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-697-5.
–––– . Satirical Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-685-2.
–––– . Science Fiction Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-683-8.
–––– . Spanish Novelists. ISBN 978-1-42983-698-2.

ea vol: 275p. (Critical Survey of Long Fiction Series). bibliog. chron. glossary. index. websites. Salem Press. 2012. pap. $29.95. ebook $29.95.
Gr 8 Up–Reproducing selections from its massive 10-volume Critical Survey of Literature, 4th ed. (2010), Salem has repackaged them into 24 paperbacks on various themes. Each volume features an introductory essay and approximately 22 entries on individual writers. Entries open with a brief discussion of “other literary forms” the author employed, followed by a discussion of “achievements,” and then a one to two-page biography. The main body of each entry consists of an analysis of the author’s major works that is compellingly written and could easily be employed as a booktalk to introduce readers to a new work. However, the problems that plagued the original set remain. There is an uncomfortable quirkiness to the selection of authors covered. For instance, in Feminist Themes, there is no mention of Toni Morrison, a writer not only of importance as an African American, but also as a novelist who plumbs the depths of the female psyche and women’s roles in society. The absence of an entry on Shirley Jackson or Stephen King in Gothic Novelists is similarly odd. Though the books make for delightful browsing, and at times illuminating introductions to some of literature’s more important figures, they will be of little use to students in search of academic sources for a research paper. Libraries with access to Gale’s Literature Resource Center or EBSCO’s Literary Reference Center don’t need these works.-–Herman Sutter, Saint Agnes Academy, Houston, TX

TARR, David & Bob Benenson. Elections A to Z, 4th ed. 794p. bibliog. charts. chron. illus. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. CIP. CQ Press. 2012. PLB $125. ISBN 978-0-8728-9769-4. LC 2012008921.
Gr 6 Up–This invaluable resource on the history and process of U.S. national elections supersedes the 2008 edition by updating its many charts, tables, and chronologies; adding whole articles (“Tea Party”); and revising preexisting entries to encompass significant developments such as the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. The approximately 225 alphabetically arranged articles cover topics from “Absentee Voting” and “Electoral Behavior” to “Beauty Contest” and “Scandals”; they also offer separate entries on black, women’s, and youth suffrage. Entries feature at least one small black-and-white photo or other illustration; multiple cross references; and, often, breakout quotes. The prose is journalistic in style, with some editorial insertions–most notably in the final article, “ZZZ,” which is an analysis of voter apathy with a pointed sidebar passage from JFK’s “Ask Not…” speech. The electoral process is the chief focus here; there are no biographical articles or, aside from one short disquisition on “Ideology,” any general surveys or studies of political philosophy. Nonetheless, capped by a large documentary and tabular “Reference Material” section and a comprehensive index, this remains a first-rate, richly detailed picture of this country’s glorious, if not always rational, electoral system.-–John Peters, Children’s Literature Consultant, New York City

TELGEN, Diane. The Gilded Age. 249p. (Defining Moments Series). bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. illus. index. notes. photos. Omnigraphics. 2012. PLB $55.00. ISBN 978-0-7808-1238-3. LC 2011048642.
Gr 8 Up–Examining economic and societal inequalities and turmoil, this volume covers the period between the Civil War and the turn of the 20th century, which Mark Twain termed the “Gilded Age.” Following an introduction that suggests research topics, the work focuses almost entirely on how rapid industrialization and widespread corruption led to social stratification, income inequality, and unrest. The first of the book’s three sections is a clear and objective narrative overview with chapters about economic expansion, robber barons and corruption, reform movements, labor unrest, and analysis of the era’s legacy and its parallels in our own stratified society. The biographical section profiles 10 important industrial and labor figures, and the primary-sources section provides 9 from the period plus 2 present-day accounts that offer opposing viewpoints about whether ours is another Gilded Age. Captioned black-and-white period photos and illustrations and occasional sidebars supplement the cross-referenced, sourced text. Rodney P. Carlisle’s The Gilded Age: 1870 to 1900 (Facts On File, 2009) examines all aspects of life during this time period and Sonia G. Benson’s Development of the Industrial U.S. (UXL, 2005) looks at many of the same topics in a similar format. However, this well-written book offers both historical and contemporary analyses, making it a good choice for collections that need report information about an often-overlooked time in American history.-–Mary Mueller Rolla Junior High School, MO

THOMPSON, Bill, III. The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America. 368p. (Peterson Field Guides Series). bibliog. further reading. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. websites. Houghton Harcourt. 2012. pap. $15.95. ISBN 978-0-547-44021-7.
Gr 6 Up–As other guides have appeared in recent years, birders have latched on to their favorites, but none is aimed so directly at the fledgling birder as this one. The 300 species most likely to be encountered in North America are described on a page each (“adult” field guides usually list several related species per spread), accompanied by a color photo of the bird, two if males and females have different plumage. Notes on habitat and what to look for (markings) and listen for (songs, calls) will help birders confirm sightings. The taxonomic arrangement, covering from waterfowl to finches, is similar to many field guides, so it will be easy for novices to graduate from this title to more extensive guides. The list of resources includes organizations, field guides, audio guides, periodicals, and, in a nod to the times, apps. A great title for both school and public libraries.-–Teresa R. Faust, Vermont Department of Libraries, Berlin

TUCKER, Spencer C. The Encyclopedia of the War of 1812: A Political, Social, and Military History. 3 vols. 1034p. bibliog. charts. chron. further reading. glossary. illus. index. maps. reprods. CIP. ABC-CLIO. 2012. PLB $310. ISBN 978-1-85109-956-6; ebook $310. ISBN 978-1-85109-957-3. LC 2012007054.
Gr 8 Up–Prefaced by short overviews of the war’s causes, course, and effects, these more than 850 alphabetically arranged articles examine relevant events and figures from the Battle of New Orleans and James Madison to the Battle of Emuckfaw Creek and Davy Crockett. Entries range from a few paragraphs to several columns in length, and each ends with cross-references and further-reading suggestions. Black-and-white maps and occasional period portraits and other images are placed throughout; more importantly, most of the third volume is taken up by 113 full or extensively excerpted reports, treaties, and other primary-source documents, followed by further back matter including a particularly detailed chronology of the war’s political and military maneuvers. Students in search of broad analyses of the war’s short- or long-term effects–which were profound, particularly for the Shawnee confederation and other Native American groups who were, without question, the conflict’s worst victims–will have to look elsewhere, but for fine-grained historical information about precisely what happened, when, why, and to whom, the set stands out. By far the most comprehensive single source of information about the (relatively) small scale but significant War of 1812 to date, this bicentennial encyclopedia supersedes David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler’s single volume Encyclopedia of the War of 1812 (ABC-CLIO, 1997).-–John Peters, Children’s Literature Consultant, New York City

WORLD BOOK. Learning Playground. 10 vols. 640p. further reading. glossary. illus. index. photos. websites. CIP. 2012. PLB $240. ISBN 978-0-7166-0225-5. LC 2011004730 .
K-Gr 5–These craft books, which can also stand alone as resources on culture, math, art, shapes, and animals, open with background information (“What Are Crafts and Performing Arts?”) and inviting images. The activities sections offer clear directions and illustrations and a materials list. Basic stitching, paper cutting, constructing a cardboard flute, performing an Irish jig, and staging a shadow play are some of the activities offered in the Cultural Crafts volume, while addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and binary numbers, and
other math concepts are presented in an everyday and friendly manner in Numbers. The easy language and clear instructions mean that once children have been introduced to a topic they can try the projects independently. The indexes each include a box with terms dedicated to the activities so that users can jump straight to the hands-on portions of the set. The books can also serve as stand-alone resources that will encourage curiosity about the world and about history. With its vibrant layout, colorful photography, inquisitive writing, and well-outlined activities, this set offers material for a wide range of learners.-–Beth McGuire, Hempfield Area School District, Greensburg, PA

ZIMRING, Carl A. Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage. 2 vols. 1176p. appendix. chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. CIP. SAGE. 2012. PLB $350.00. ISBN 978-1-4129-8819-3. LC 2011034826.
Gr 9 Up–Singular in scope, this work goes beyond environmental issues to also cover the anthropological, archeological, historical, philosophical, political, and sociological aspects of garbage. The editors share a passion for waste, and experts in the field author entries on a wide range of topics, including the culture of garbage, in more than 40 different geographic regions.
Entries take an interdisciplinary approach; for example, the one on kitchen appliances lists the number of children who have died by being accidentally locked in landfill refrigerators and discusses landlord appliance-upkeep requirements and the environmental consequences of CFCs. Entries include a small number of citations and provide suggestions for further reading. The writing is clear and focused, and it is appropriate for advanced students who have minimal background information on the subject. Captioned black-and-white photographs are included with some entries, and a thorough index and useful glossary make this a good choice for institutions that need reference sources in the subject area.-–Lindsay Cesari, Baldwinsville School District, NY

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