CM . . . . Volume XX Number 33 . . . . April 25, 2014
Weigl's Media Enhanced AV² Books are a perfect answer to the question, "Are books becoming obsolete?" The answer is "NO!" Readers can start by enjoying the printed page, and then they can go to the affiliated webpage by entering the code for the book and, PRESTO! There is even more information on the Internet! If book-learning is too dry for some learners, this combination of book and website is the answer.
In the "Exploring Countries" series, the books are divided into double or single-page sections for easy research. Some of the sections are land and climate, plants and animals, natural resources, tourism, industry, and goods and services. There are also sections that explain the cultural aspects of the country, including: indigenous peoples, age of exploration, early settlers, population, politics and government, cultural groups, arts and entertainment, and sports. Each section has a sidebar, called "By the Numbers", that contains more information at-a-glance. "Land and Climate By the Numbers" in the United States focused book states: "20,320 feet is the elevation of Mount McKinley, or Denali, the highest point in North America." Or under "Plants and Animals By the Numbers" - "0 is the number of native land reptiles and amphibians in Hawaii."
The books have the usual format used for research with the contents at the front and glossary and index at the back. Beautiful colorful photographs, complete with captions, adorn the pages, and simple maps include significant physical features and important cities. At the back of the book, another map activity is found that includes legends, locating latitude and longitude and finding distances between two points. A quiz about the book's information is an additional challenge. Squeezing all the information about a country into 32 pages definitely has its limitations, but many important and interesting facts about the country are included.
In United States, the land features of Death Valley, the hottest place on Earth, and Wai'ale'ale Mountain in Hawaii, the rainiest spot in the country, make the diversity of the land come alive. The industry of the U.S.A. is compared to other major industrial giants like China. The Midwest breadbasket and the industries of petroleum and fishing are included. The U.S. is described as a melting pot of cultures and languages. English, Spanish and Chinese are the most commonly spoken languages. Baseball, football and basketball are deemed the most popular sports in America.
Brazil is the largest, most diverse country in South America. Readers can learn about the huge iron ore production and how Brazil is on track to becoming one of the world's top-five oil producers. After America, Brazil is the second-largest producer of ethanol fuel, with Brazil's ethanol being derived from processing sugarcane. The information on government includes such terms as dictators and coups d'état, information which could lead to interesting comparisons to other countries. Brazil's most popular sport is football with the men's team winning the FIFA World Cup a record five times.
Media Enhanced Books AV² by Weigl offer online interactive quizzes that can be printed, extra information and facts, as well as short videos to expand on a topic. There is even a feature that will read the text from the book for you, making information more accessible for struggling readers. This series is a must for any school library.
Sherry Faller is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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.