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CTV Television Network, 1990. VHS cassette, 23:30, $195.00. (Wonder Why, 17).


CTV Television Network, 1990. VHS cassette, 23:30, $195.00. (Wonder Why, 16).
Distributed by CTV Program Sales, 42 Charles St. E., Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1T5.

Grades 2 to 6/Ages 7 to 11
Reviewed by Veronica McCudden.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

The "Wonder Why" series is hosted by scientist/meteorologist Richard Zurawski. The purpose of this series of videotapes is to arouse the curiosity of viewers about the world around them, in this case, the desert.

The title led me to expect information about a variety of deserts around the world, so the first five minutes of dis­cussion about the problem of overheat­ing and dehydration of the human body seemed off topic. A better title might be "Survival in a Hot Desert" because the video in fact focuses on the survival of the many different types of plants and animals that have adapted to life in the hot, dry environment of the Sonora Desert in New Mexico. Again, this did not seem to be a typical desert because it had dense forests of cacti rather than vast expanses of shifting sands.

The well-paced format using a variety of tempos is very suitable for children. The interest level is high and is maintained by the good contrast between different segments. There are field trips, interviews, written questions and a couple of simple experiments. Experts share their knowledge and children participate fully in the presen­tation. The technical quality is good and the sound track is clear and easy to listen to.

I would highly recommend this video but I think that busy teachers would find a guide helpful. The high price might well put it beyond the budget of many smaller libraries.

Veronica McCudden, St. Edmund School, Mississauga, Ont.
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