________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 39 . . . . June 12, 2015


National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016. Canadian Edition.

Washington, DC: National Geographic Society (Distributed in Canada by Random House Canada), 2015.
351 pp., trade pbk., $17.99.
ISBN 978-1-4263-1923-5.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Betsy Fraser.

***˝ /4


The National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 will be an obvious draw for nonfiction fans. Any reader or parent of a reader looking for a book that provides information in easy-to-swallow bites will gulp this book down. Taking advantage of National Geographic Society’s wonderful resources, the volume is broken up into 10 chapters intended to introduce readers to the history and current state of the world in which they are living.

     The beginning chapter is a quick look at the world in 2016, including events around the world and popular jobs. This is followed by a chapter called “Adventure” that looks at things as varied as places to go, photographers’ tricks, things you might find in an adventurer’s suitcase, and tales from actual explorers. A “homework help” section provides advice on writing the perfect essay.

     This is followed by a chapter titled “Amazing Animals” which endeavours to satisfy all readers by providing lists of the cutest animals, animal heroes, and working animals, before providing information about taxonomy and animal families. Animal lovers will then find out more about a wide variety of large and small animals, from bugs to frogs on the small end, to dolphin, big cats and a spirit bear on the larger end.

     The next chapter, “Super Science”, starts with a brief introduction to the universe and planets before looking at 2016’s upcoming astronomical events. Readers will then be given a look at their body and a whirlwind tour through some of the basic subjects, including: weather, biomes, gardens and photosynthesis, plants, natural disasters, the water cycle, the oceans, and coral reefs.

     A short “Fun and Games” section provides a break, along with jokes and a few comics, before the “Culture Connection” chapter provides some lists and facts about art, music, and celebrations from around the world. Craft offerings include how to make quesadillas and candy apples. Some of the topics covered in “Going Green” are recycling, habitat reconstruction, global warming, and pollution.

     “History Happens” has a very timely tree of the Canadian Prime Ministers as well as an explanation of how the government, and its various parts, works. This is followed by an explanation of Canada’s major political parties.

     The final chapter, “Geography Rocks”, starts with maps of the continents before zeroing in on Canada. Particularly useful for students is a section that follows with maps of different countries that also has accompanying information about the country (area, population, capital, currencies, language(s) and religions).

     Each section is accompanied by the kind of high-quality photographs that are associated with the National Geographic Society and supplemented with sidebars and lists about “cool” or “gross” facts that are unlikely to be found in the sort of online resource that would provide the bare bones facts about a person, place, or thing, and they are what make this book so much more enticing. It is the carnivorous plants, or wackiest houses, or outrageous facts, that will entice readers who would not normally read nonfiction and that will make them into someone who regularly does. The “Quiz Whiz” and “Homework Help” sections will appeal to teachers and parents, and the Canadian history and geography sections should ensure this title a place in every library.

Highly Recommended.

Betsy Fraser is a Selector with Calgary Public Library and the author of Reality Rules II: A Guide to Teen Nonfiction Reading Interests.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364
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