________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 22 . . . . June 27, 2008

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Russia: The Land. 2nd. Rev. Ed. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Greg Nickles.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9670-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-9302-1 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Russia (Federation)-Description and travel-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4

   
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Russia: The People. 2nd. Rev. Ed. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Greg Nickles.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9671-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-9303-8 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Russia (Federation)-Social conditions-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4

   
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Russia: The Culture. 2nd. Rev. Ed. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series).

Greg Nickles.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9672-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-9304-5 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Russia (Federation)-Civilization-Juvenile literature.
Russia (Federation)-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4

This series, first issued in 2001, has had new topics and updated information added. The format is the same as in the previous edition and, as in most Crabtree books, each volume has 32 pages with 13 two-page chapters, a table of contents at the front and a glossary and index on the final page. The reading level suits the target age group while bright colour photographs abound with generally informative captions.

     Russia: the Land has added information on Lake Baikal, the lake that holds 20% of the earth's fresh water. Protecting its ecosystem is an important issue in Russia where industry and the resulting pollution threaten the quality of the lake's water and the wildlife. Space tourism, Russia's way of financing its space exploration program is also discussed.

     Russia: the People has added the issues of ethnic nationalism, the changes that have occurred in society caused by these tensions and the hardships of rural life.

     Russia: the Culture talks about the changes in the digital age, as communications bring the impact of other cultures into what was once a relatively closed society. The changing economy has produced new classes of people whose tastes have affected the styles of architecture.

     The books allude to the challenges created for different sections of people by the new capitalist economy, that rural citizens and the elderly people are extremely poor, that living conditions for most working people are cramped and substandard while the new entrepreneurial class is very rich and lives opulently. The reasons for these disparities are not adequately discussed – including the information that the government has allowed the new bourgeoisie to flout laws and the government abandoned its social responsibility to its own citizens in the transition to a free market economy. The books do not mention the growth of organized crime and the devastating consequences of that on the population, ranging from addictions to the trade in human beings. The recent ‘democratic' elections in Russia were a complete farce, with Alexander Putin using his authority to muscle out opposition and award himself powers that would have been condemned as dictatorial under the previous regime.

     Children are capable of understanding serious issues and should not be denied information that is integral to a proper understanding of what Russia is like today. It simply needs to be framed properly for their age and level of understanding.

Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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