Monday, November 26, 2007

Book Review - Let's Go!: The Story of Getting From There to Here

Earlier in the year I wrote a post highlighting books for science and social studies that examine change over time. Let's Go!: The Story of Getting From There to Here is a book that fits this theme well. Written by Lizann Flatt and illustrated by Scot Ritchie, this lively look at the evolution of transportation in North America covers travois, toboggans and snowshoes, to canoes, ships and horses, to carriages, coaches and wagons, to steamboats, trains and streetcars, to automobiles, planes and more. Phew! This informational book shows not only the change in forms of transportation over time, but how these advances helped to fuel the growth of cities and changes in the landscape.

This is an easy read aloud with lots of interesting things going on in the illustrations. There is a Carolina dog (or American dingo) that appears somewhere on each double-page spread. Readers will enjoy looking for him among the faces and landscapes. At the end of the text is a section entitled Did You Know? that provides assorted interesting facts about some of the concepts shared earlier in the book.

Here is an excerpt.
The land slowly warmed. The people
walked with packs on their backs.

Some trailed travois,
pulled toboggans,
wore snowshoes.

In quiet canoes made from forest trees,
they crossed lakes, rode rivers,
and skimmed the shores.

The text is lyrical and packed with information. A few words, like travois and portage, may be difficult for readers and will need to be defined/explained. While the word portage is defined in the back of the book, travois is not.

Let's Go! provides a good general introduction to the history of transportation and offers interesting details about some of the forms introduced. The illustrations extend the text in numerous ways and beg to be examined at length. There is much here for readers to consider and this text will offer a marvelous springboard for discussion and further research. There are, however, two weaknesses that should be noted. First, there is no timeline or chronology in the final notes. It would have been nice to be able to situate the inventions and innovations mentioned in a particular century. Second, a short list of references or bibliography of additional resources would have greatly added to the usefulness of the text.

All in all, this book succeeds on many levels and will be a welcome addition to the classroom. I recommend it.

Book: Let's Go!: The Story of Getting From There to Here
Author: Lizann Flatt
Illustrator: Scot Ritchie
Publisher: Maple Tree Press
Publication Date: September 28, 2007
Pages: 40
Grades: 1-3
ISBN-10: 1897349025
ISBN-13: 978-1897349021
Source of Book: Copy received from publisher for Cybils consideration

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, thanks. I'll have to look for this at the pubalic liberry.