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Semaan, Leslie.

Illustrated by Ross Pomeroy. Victoria, Victoria International Development Education Association, 1986,112pp, paper, spiral bound$15.00. Distributed by VIDEA, 407-620 View Street, Victoria, B.C., V8W U6. (Classroom Resource Kits)

Grades 6-9
Reviewed by Alma Webster

Volume 15 Number 5
1987 November

There is nothing in this book to indicate the author's credentials. From the accompanying publicity it appears that this is one of a series, "continuing VIDEA's series of information kits on developing countries."

This publicity brochure also describes this as a "classroom resource kit." However, to most teachers and librarians this would be described merely as a textbook or workbook.

The book provides a simplified overview of the land and peoples of Mexico the history, religion, art, life style, industries and economy. The stated purpose of the work is to provide "a learning experience a means of increasing understanding and dispelling myths and stereotypes that exist about our neighboring country .... The text should help to promote appreciation and understanding that underlie Mexico's complex culture." The author has succeeded in summarizing a large quantity of material into a readable, condensed format.

The writing appears to be factual and objective. Generalizations are stated instead of useful data; e.g., "as well as many other things" (p. 43), "many other things" (p. 44), and "many others" (p.45). Likewise the many industries in the cities are not specifically stated.

The Teacher Overview indicates that the text is designed for teacher use for duplication for the pupils or to use as transparency masters. The material is organized under sixteen topics arranged in a satisfactory sequence: "Land," "History," "Industry," "Agriculture," "Government," "Religion," "People," "Cities," "Family Life," "Housing," "Food," "Dress," "Health," "Education," "Arts," and "Leisure."

The format is very satisfactory, with good quality paper and type and page design. A black-and-white drawing appears on nearly every page; most are unlabelled. Are the designs and motifs informative or merely decorative? There is a table of contents, a glossary, but no index. Suggested activities are provided (breach topic. Maps of the physical and climatic regions would have been valuable.

Recommended for supplementary classroom use only where other more comprehensive materials on the same topics are available.

Alma Webster, Edmonton, Alta.
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