Explorers and Exploration, Volume 4
Grade 5-9 - This set includes more than 100 biographical entries and 50 topical articles, organized alphabetically. A thematic table of contents in the first volume conveniently groups the explorers geographically and divides the articles into broad categories. Most entries are between two and eight pages long, with plenty of illustrative material. The clearly written text provides solid overviews, along with key dates and details. Biographical sections stick fairly closely to the individuals' lives, while side boxes highlight selected topics. In an article on Ferdinand Magellan, for example, information on the rivalry between Portugal and Spain provides useful context. Quotations from writings and journals also add flavor to some of the articles. Thematic entries examine broad topics such as "Mapmaking," "NASA," and the "Silk Road," along with information on several nations and regions. Emphasis is on the accomplishments of the individuals rather than the impact they had on the societies they "discovered," but the sometimes damaging effects of exploration are touched upon in general sections like "Native Peoples" and within some biographical profiles. Most articles include a colorful map with voyage routes clearly identified when applicable, and all include a time line. Clear, captioned reproductions of portraits, paintings, historical maps, and photographs appear on nearly every page, adding considerable visual appeal. "See also" references at the end of each article and several indexes in the final volume help to synthesize related topics. An effective and accessible resource. - Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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