CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 26. . . .March 11, 2016
Buckingham Palace: The Official Residence of England’s Royal Family.
New York, NY: AV˛ by Weigl (Distributed in Canada by Saunders Book Company), 2016.
24 pp., pbk., hc. & eBook, $23.04 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-4896-3393-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4896-4023-9 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4896-4025-3 (single-user eBook), ISBN 978-1-4896-4026-0 (multi-user eBook).
Buckingham Palace (London, England)-Juvenile literature.
Great Britain-Kings and rulers-Dwellings-Juvenile literature.
London, England- Buildings, structures, etc.-Juvenile literature.
Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.
Review by Suzanne Pierson.
The Gold Standard
Buckingham Palace originally had a marble arch as its main entrance. The arch had to be moved when the East Front was built. It was replaced with a gold-tipped wrought iron fence. Gold was a popular decorative feature at the time because it indicated wealth. As one of the most malleable metals, gold is also easy to mold into shape. Gold is long-lasting and does not corrode or break down like other metals. This makes it suitable for outdoor settings. Gold can withstand all kinds of conditions, including wind rain, snow, and sunlight, without being degraded.
Buckingham Palace: The Official Residence of England’s Royal Family is an AV˛ media enhanced book. The final page instructs students to log on to www.av2books.com and explains the resources available. Using the code printed on page 2 and answering a question based on the content of the book, students gain access to audio, video, web links, quizzes, activities, and a slide show.
By clicking on the audio links, students hear the text read to them. Unfortunately, in this book, the text that they will hear is the same for each page of the Weigl site. This greatly decreases the value of this book for less fluent readers. Since this can be fixed without having to reprint the book, hopefully Weigl will include more text soon.
The web links lead students to research sites which are full of excellent information. The first link identifies the members of the current British royal family. The youngest royal, Princess Charlotte, is not included. Again, unlike print information, this website can be updated, hopefully soon.
The video icons let students watch information videos related to Buckingham Palace and the royal family. There are opportunities for students to expand each topic as well which is great for those who want to dig deeper and expand beyond the expected.
The additional quizzes and activities on the website are disappointing as they are all lower order thinking activities. Including at least a few higher order questions or activities would increase the value of the book.
The print content of the book is clearly laid out with many colourful photos, aerial photos, maps and information boxes with facts such as, “The palace’s light fixtures hold more than 40,000 light bulbs”, and more importantly, “Buckingham Palace has 78 restrooms”. In addition to information about the palace, itself, there is also information about the builders, similar palaces around the world, and current issues facing the palace. The book also includes a table of contents, key words and index.
Buckingham Palace: The Official Residence of England’s Royal Family has enhanced content with the media links. If you are looking for a book on the British Royalty that will engage your students, this one is worth considering. The media links could be better, but the overall value is greater than a print book alone.
Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.
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