March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Reference Book Reviews | April 2013

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ea. vol. (Dinosaurs! Series). 48p. diags. further reading. illus. index. photos. websites. World Book. 2012. Set price: $75.
Gr 4-6Each volume examines about 40 dinosaurs from similar classifications. An introduction describes the order or suborder and provides general background on the “Age of Dinosaurs.” Profiles of specific genera follow, with most spreads featuring brief profiles of two or three dinosaurs on one page, paired with a more detailed “Up Close” full-page look at a single genus. The appealing layout includes full-color illustrations neatly arranged on the page. The brevity and inconsistency of the text limit usefulness for research, however. Creatures’ height, length, and weight are only occasionally provided, which can be especially confusing since the drawings are not scaled. Side-by-side illustrations of Vulcanodon and Patagosaurus are comparably sized, for example, but the latter was actually three times longer. Pronunciation of each name is given, though the meaning is usually not and the time period is often skipped. The language is generally clear, with care taken to distinguish between known facts and speculation. “Fact-o-saur” and “Fun Fact” insets are sprinkled throughout each book, usually providing data not covered in the profiles.Spreads featuring  “Dino-Bites”  look closer at topics relative to the classification, such as “Why Did Birds Survive?” in Birdlike Dinosaurs ! With coverage of more than 160 types of animals, many of which are not included in other sets, this one should appeal to browsers looking for a little information about many different creatures, despite some limited depth and minor flaws.–Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR

ATLAS OF THE WORLD. 19th ed. 448p. charts. illus. index. maps. photos. Oxford Univ. 2012. Tr $89.95. ISBN 978-0-19-993782-0.
Gr 8 Up–Available only in a print version but updated annually, this large-format resource continues to earn pride of place on the atlas case’s top shelf for its combination of currency and eye-widening graphics. The physical, political, and country and regional maps that make up the volume’s core are works of art–brilliantly designed for easy comprehension, rendered in bright colors and sharp detail, and impossible to resist poring over. An immense index and a detailed gazetteer take up nearly half of the page count. Distinctive additional features include an array of satellite images, more than 50 (simplified) city street maps, a survey article titled “Will the World Run Out of Food?” and about two dozen maps related to climate, natural resources, population, and trade, not to mention star charts and a tour of the solar system. There were no major changes in the world since the 18th edition, but new material includes fresh statistical information;  updated flags for two African countries; changes to the selections of city maps and satellite photos; and, in the maps themselves, the additions of significant buildings, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and new roads and railways. Atlases are among the quickest reference sources to age, so for classroom or library collections in which students search in vain for information about, for instance, South Sudan or even Kosovo, this makes a first-rate replacement. –John Peters, Children’s Literature Consultant, New York City

BATES, Christopher G. Global Social Issues: An Encyclopedia. 3 vols. 1148p. bibliog. charts. diags. further reading. illus. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Sharpe Reference. 2012. PLB $349. ISBN 978-0-7656-8292-5. LC 2012021425. Online: Sharpe Online Reference
With articles ranging from adoption to war crimes, this set covers a multitude of subjects that affect various cultures and countries. Each entry offers a history of the topic and describes its effects and potential impact. Medical, environmental, political, and, of course, social issues are all explored, so that, for example, both slavery and social networking are examined on a global scale. What sets this work apart, however, is the inclusion of two primary sources in each article. They usually include one historical and one more-contemporary document per entry. For instance, the piece on alcohol use and abuse includes both Benjamin Rush’s 1805 “Effects of Ardent Spirits Upon Man” and the World Health Organization’s 2006 “Interpersonal Violence and Alcohol in the Russian Federation.” Each topic is followed by cross references and back matter includes a bibliography. A solid choice for reference collections.–Carol Fazioli, Barth Elementary School, Pottstown, PA

FERRARA, Miranda H. From Green Industries to Green Jobs. 460p. bibliog. further reading. index. websites. Gale. 2012. PLB $525. ISBN 978-1-4144-9623-8. LC 2012005309. Online: Gale Virtual Reference Library
Gr 9 Up –Covering 100 titles, this clearly and concisely written work expands on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook . The jobs are divided into 12 different sectors, including agriculture and forestry, energy trading, environmental protection, and transportation. Each profile within a sector includes the nature of the work, working conditions, employment, training and qualifications, job outlook, earnings, related occupations, sources of additional information, and further reading. Job titles are quite varied and span a wide array of education levels, including entries ranging from hazardous-materials-removal workers to fuel-cell engineers. Although sources aren’t formally cited within each entry, in most instances a casual reference is made to the material’s origin. Much of the data is from U.S. government publications and professional organizations. A useful addition to school and public libraries.–Lindsay Cesari, Baldwinsville School District, NY

GANS, Judith, ed. Debates on U.S. Immigration. 624p. bibliog. charts. further reading. illus. index. SAGE Reference. 2012. PLB $125. ISBN 978-1-4129-9601-3. LC 2012016287. Online: SAGE Reference Online
Gr 8 Up–This comprehensive roundup of beliefs and commentary on current issues relating to U.S. immigration should be required reading for serious students of any aspect of the topic. In 33 pairs of “Point” and “Counterpoint” articles, academics square off (though in eight cases the pro and con sides are presented by the same author) on subjects from whether Arizona’s S.B. 1070 is or could ever be a successful model law to the putative relationship between immigration and crime rates. Gathered into the three broad areas of political, economic, and cultural debates–each section with an overview introduction–the article-pairs open with two pithy platform statements, then develop each one in substantial detail, with frequent references to supporting scholarship. Each article ends with an ample list of sources and of further reading. Though the approach and level of discourse can be characterized as intellectual rather than an exchange of passionately held views, the prose is rescued from aridity by a briskly argumentative tone. A closing section of sometimes-lengthy speeches, policy papers, and court decisions, beginning with President Coolidge’s disparagement of the Immigration Act of 1924, provides some primary-source material while underscoring this resource’s close focus on contemporary attitudes and arguments. For historical balance, shelve it with Patrick J. Hayes’s Making of Modern Immigration: An Encyclopedia of People and Ideas (ABC-CLIO, 2012).–John Peters, Children’s Literature Consultant, New York City

NOWLAN, Robert A. The American Presidents, Washington to Tyler: What They Did, What They Said, What Was Said About Them, with Full Source Notes. 450p. bibliog. charts. diags. further reading. illus. index. maps. notes. reprods. websites. McFarland. 2012. pap. $55. ISBN 978-0-7864-6336-7. LC 2011039072.
Gr 7 Up–A readable, detailed account of each of the first 10 men who held the highest office in the United States. Within each chapter is a thorough account of the man’s term, including major events in foreign affairs, primary-source documents by and about him, and, in some cases, how he was viewed by his contemporaries and other presidents. The book is thoroughly researched and contains a wealth of additional resources, grouped by president. Of particular note is the extensive collection of illustrations, which includes images of the men as well as major events from their presidencies. It should be noted, however, that Wikipedia is cited as a resource for some of the images.–Wayne R. Cherry, Jr., First Baptist Academy Library, Houston, TX

ROBERTS, Priscilla. Voices of World War II: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life. 236p. appendix. bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. reprods. websites. Greenwood. 2012. PLB $100. ISBN 978-0-313-38662-6. LC 2012010300. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection
Gr 8 Up–Offering voices from all sides of the conflict, this source includes 32 documents ranging from letters to statements and from speeches to poems, divided into six sections from “The Coming of War in Europe” to “The War’s Social and Economic Impact” that will help users to understand the course of the war. With documents such as “Father Johannes A. Siemes Recalls the Atomic Attack on Hiroshima of August 6, 1945,” “The Final Solution: Minutes of the Wansee Protocol, January 20, 1942,” and “Comfort Women: Account of Ms. K, an Anonymous Korean Woman,” the book discusses sensitive events such as treatment of women and racial and religious minorities during war, and the horrors of conflict. The section on how to understand and use primary documents includes information about how author and reader biases affect the consumption of information. It will aid newcomers to this type of material. Each document has an introduction, points to keep in mind, sidebar glossaries, questions to ask, and topics to consider, along with suggestions for books, websites, and media with further information. Access is enhanced by appendixes of people and terms in addition to the index. Even with only 32 documents, this title offers a greater overview of the range of people involved in the conflict than Max Arthur’s Forgotten Voices of World War II (Lyon Press, 2004) and Veronica Kavass’s Last Good War: Faces and Voices of World War 2 (Welcome Books, 2010), which have British and American slants, respectively. Students in AP history and literature classes and general library users who want to read words from those who lived through the war years will find this a useful resource.–Ann West LaPrise, Huron School District, New Boston, MI

SCHOLASTIC POCKET DICTIONARY OF SYNONYMS, ANTONYMS & HOMONYMS. 240p. charts. Scholastic. 2012. pap. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-545-42667-1.
Gr 5 Up–This pocket dictionary boasts 12,000 syonyms, 10,000 antonyms, and 2,000 homonyms. Word entries in bold are presented alphabetically and offer synonyms, and then antonyms in parentheses. For example, the entry for “daft” includes synonyms such as “silly” and “idiotic” and antonyms such as “sane” and “practical.” Common homonynms (e.g., their, there, they’re) are featured in the second section of the book. A brief review of  “The Parts of Speech” and “Four Kinds of Sentences” and a “Glossary of Grammar Terms” are also featured. For patrons who might find traditional, large-volume reference books daunting, this useful and portable source may be less intimidating.–Cara Moffett, A.R. Lewis Elementary School, Pickens, SC

TUCKER, Spencer C. Almanac of American Military History. 4 vols. 2524p. appendix. bibliog. charts. chron. further reading. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. ABC-CLIO. 2012. PLB $415. ISBN 978-1-59884-530-3; ebook $415. ISBN 978-1-59884-531-0. LC 2012034656. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection
Gr 9 Up The material in this well-researched set is divided into 11 chapters covering the Colonial era, Westward movement, the Civil War, World War II, the Korean and early Cold Wars, and the post-Cold War era, including recent conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Each chapter begins with an extensive overview of the era, followed by date entries that vary from just a few lines to multiple pages in length. Entries about important battles are marked by a stylized sunburst. When appropriate, articles are accompanied by informatively captioned black-and-white charts, battle maps, art reproductions, and/or vintage photos; all are followed by further reading suggestions. Adding significantly to the value of the set are the numerous boxed articles. Usually at least a page long, they offer, for example, biographies of military leaders and descriptions and histories of planes, ships, and various weapons. Chapters conclude with excerpts from primary documents, statistics, and an extensive bibliography. Volume 4 contains appendixes of general statistics, military ranks, and military awards and decorations; a glossary; a comprehensive bibliography; and chronological and general indexes. This is by far one of the best military chronologies available today and it deserves a place in most collections.–Eldon Younce, Anthony Public Library, KS

Resource Update

New Volumes in Established Series

AKERS, Donna L. Culture and Customs of the Choctaw Indians. 176p. (Cultures and Customs of Native Peoples in America Series). photos. reprods. bibliog. chron. index. notes. Greenwood. 2013. PLB $50. ISBN 978-0-313-36401-3. LC 2012032912.

BELLENIR, Elizabeth, ed. Fitness Information for Teens. 3rd ed. 387p. (Teen Health Series). diags. index. websites. Omnigraphics. 2012. PLB $69. ISBN 978-0-7808-1267-3. LC 2012024737.

DERKS, Scott. Working Americans 1880-2012. Vol. I: The Working Class. 650p. ISBN 978-1-59237-564-6.
–––– . Vol. XIII: Educators & Education. 549p. ISBN 978-1-59237-877-7.
ea vol: charts. illus. photos. reprods. bibliog. index. Grey House. 2012. PLB $150.

HILLSTROM, Kevin & Laura Collier Hillstrom. Woodstock. 240p. (Defining Moments Series). photos. bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. notes. Omnigraphics. 2012. PLB $40. ISBN 978-0-7808-1284-0. LC 2012026921.

JURINSKI, James John. Tax Reform. 2nd ed. 276p. (Contemporary World Issues Series). charts. chron. further reading. glossary. index. websites. ABC-CLIO. 2012. PLB $58. ISBN 978-1-59884-322-4; LC 2011053033.

SPRINGER, Paul J. Military Robots and Drones. 2nd ed. 296p. (Contemporary World Issues Series). charts. chron. further reading. glossary. index. websites. ABC-CLIO. 2012. PLB $58. ISBN 978-1-59884-322-4; ebook $58. ISBN 978-1-59884-733-8. LC 2012031879.