Most of the time, when I review a product, it is digital. That makes the rare occasions when we are sent a physical copy of something quite special! Our most recent review is one of those; we were sent three books from the Carole P. Roman books and collections. Out of a long list of possible titles, I chose two about American history and one about Kenya. As soon as the books arrived in this house, they were being read—and reread! A couple of weeks later, Little Miss is still loving them!
I had never seen any books by Carole P. Roman before, so I enjoyed being introduced to some great new resources for our family. These are lavishly illustrated books, with text on one side of each two-page spread and a picture on the other. Many of the illustrations are full-color drawings; some I noticed were drawings inserted into a photograph. I liked all of them!
The first book I chose is If You Were Me and Lived In…Colonial America. Through the eyes of a young boy, this book tells about the reasons that the Pilgrims wanted to move to America. You will imagine traveling on the Mayflower, and surviving the hardships of the first winter in the New World. The main events of that time are touched on, but the main emphasis is on daily life. We are learning about Jamestown right now, and will be studying the Pilgrims next, so this book was a good fit.
The second book I chose was If You Were Me and Lived in…The American West. I chose this one because of our study of American History, although it will be a good while until we reach the Oregon Trail. This book mainly describes living conditions on the trail, as if you were a child traveling in a wagon train. A number of the pictures appear to be photographs of a scene, with pioneers, or covered wagons, or a log cabin, added. I really like the effect this creates. One detail I did have a question about was the dates given; the child in this story traveled in “The Great Migration of 1843”, after a relative who had gone to California for gold told the child’s parents about Oregon.
Our last book is If You Were Me and Lived In…Kenya. I chose this one because we have friends who were missionaries in Kenya for several years. I found this brief introduction to the people and country of Kenya to be very interesting. Several words and names that are commonly used in that country are included; thankfully, the pronunciations are given! Foods and games are introduced, as well as wildlife and an annual celebration. My boys did notice in one of the pictures that the children were not holding the cricket bat the same way they do when they play; they said their friend who is a cricket fanatic would have a fit if he saw that picture! Otherwise, I thought the book was accurate.
I wouldn’t mind having more of these lovely picture books on our shelf for reference. They are a good supplement to history and geography, and Little Miss loves just looking at them; in fact, I had to get one back from her to check on something just now as I was writing this review! She has the two history books with her at the moment and is making up a story to go with the pictures. In fact, she just informed me that she can read some of the words! In the Colonial America book, there is a picture of a boy holding a lobster. Her interpretation of the text beside it? “A spider is getting a boy to eat.” Maybe these books are good for developing imagination, as well as imparting information?!
One more thing…I noticed this afternoon a note in the back of the Colonial America book that there are additional resources available on the author’s blog. I took a quick look at what was available for the books we have. There wasn’t a lot yet, but for each of our two history books there were a couple of pages of study questions. The books are great on their own for younger children; the questions would help with creating a mini unit study for older children.