By: Madeline Donaldson
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
Many kids think that the United Kingdom is only made up of one or two countries, but it is really made up of four parts spread out over two islands. The largest island, Great Britain, is home to England, Scotland, and Wales, and the smaller island, Ireland, is home to Northern Ireland. If you look at the map in this book you can easily see where they are in relation to one another and you can also see where its mountains, highlands, capital cities, and smaller cities are located. If you lived in the United Kingdom, you would not be very far from water as “seas lie to the north, east, and west.” In addition to lakes, rivers, and seas, each country can lay claim to many mountains and valleys.
The climate is “cool and mild” with rainfall scattered throughout the year. If you like your weather hot, you probably would not care for this section of the world as “Britain rarely has long stretches of hot, sunny days.” You’ll learn a bit of the UK’s history, which dates back thousands of years. You’ll learn how the modern day Kingdom actually became united. The full name of the UK is actually the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Bet you didn’t know that! You’ll probably learn many things you weren’t aware of. You’ll learn about the Royal Family, the ethnic makeup of its people, the British English language, where the people live, you’ll learn about their transportation system, their holidays, what they eat, when children start school, you’ll get to see what their favorite sports are, what they do for fun, and you’ll learn many more interesting things. Have you seen break-dancer George Sampson in action? He was on “Britain’s Got Talent.” You might want to check him out on YouTube!
This is a wonderful introduction to a Kingdom that many children would love to know more about. It was a very interesting armchair visit to the UK and I especially enjoyed the well-chosen photographs on every page that lent a nice flavor to the book (including the one of haggis). There are numerous small sidebars that also offer up interesting vignettes about the UK. For example, we learn about Boudicca, the Celtic queen and how “her forces attacked the Romans.” In the back of the book are some “Fast Facts, an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources. OK, let’s see if you recognize this name and know its meaning: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Whew! If not, you might want to take a look at this book!
Quill says: If you are looking for an excellent series that will give children a nice overview of many countries across the globe, you may wish to take a look at several books in the Country Explorers series!