Communication Then and Now

9780778701149. ea vol: 24p. (From Olden Days to Modern Ways in Your Community). ebook available. further reading. illus. index. photos. websites. Crabtree. 2014. RTE. $23.60. pap. $7.95.
Gr 3–5—These books provide general information on their topics, but they are somewhat problematic. They are organized into two-page chapters, with the left-hand page describing modern aspects and the right side highlighting methods of "long ago." However, Kalman doesn't always make clear, compelling distinctions between then and now. For example, she writes, "Fruits also grow in soil, as well as on trees. Most people today buy their fruits and vegetables at supermarkets…" and goes on to say, "Long ago, most people grew their own vegetable gardens and even had fruit trees, such as apple, cherry, and peach. They… traded some at the general store." Much of the stock photography is lackluster and not often instructive. Uneven blocks of text against too much white space result in an amateurish layout. Some sidebars ask readers to identify items and their purpose, or to speculate about a scene in a painting, yet there are no helpful hints to let children know if they're on the right track. Still, the rudimentary material that can be gleaned for assignments keeps these books in the serviceable range.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR

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