By: Madeline Donaldson
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
Italy is a country located on the “continent of Europe.” It is a mountainous country surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean Sea. On its northern border we can find the countries of Monaco, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovinia. Two islands, Sardinia and Sicily, are also part of the country. One unusual fact about Italy is that there are two countries inside its borders. One is the Vatican City and the other is San Marino. You can take a peek at a map in this book to get an idea where all these places are located in relationship to one another in this boot-shaped country. You can see the Apennines mountains that run down through the center, the country’s largest rivers, and a few important cities.
The northern part of the country is industrialized while the southern part is mostly farmland. Most of Italy’s inhabitants live in numerous, large cities. In fact, “four out of five Italians live in a city.” Children begin school when they are six-years-old and attend “school six days a week” and “they do lots of homework.” In this book you will learn many different facts about Italy and its people. You will learn about the land (including volcanoes), the Roman Empire, the “important centers of business,” how people joined together in the 1800s to create the country, their language, their lifestyles, you’ll learn about some of their cities, transportation, their family life, their foods (pizza!), their religion, holidays, sports, famous Italians, and more. Why do some people claim they are Roman or Milanese instead of Italian? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!
If you are looking for a picture perfect introduction to Italy, this is one book you may wish to take a look at. The text is surrounded by colorful photographs that capture the essence of what the country is all about. I enjoyed my armchair introduction to the country and was fascinated by photos like the one of Vernazza, a small town that “sits on a hill near the sea.” There are numerous, informative sidebars that add some very interesting material. For example, in one we are able to learn about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. In the back of the book is a section of “Fast Facts,” an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a nicely condensed overview of Italy and its people that will encourage students to learn more about the country.