Saturday, April 05, 2008

serials assignment

Claybourne, A. (2006). World's Worst Germs: Micro-organisms and Disease. Chicago, IL: Raintree. Edwards, J. (2004). Abolitionists and Slave Resistance: Breaking the Chains of Slavery. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow. Haywood, J. (2005). Medieval Europe. Chicago, IL: Raintree. Johansson, P. (2004). The Wide Open Grasslands: A Web of Life. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow. Latta, S.L., & Kunkel, D. (2006). The Good, the Bad, the Slimy: The Secret Life of Microbes. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow. Morris, N. (2008). Living in the Arctic. Chicago, IL: Raintree.

These two books [World's Worst Germs and The Good, the Bad, the Slimy] are good examples of what readers can expect from the rest of the series, even in other subject areas. Both publishers, with their distinctive emblems on the spines, can be seen in many different subject sections of the juvenile nonfiction section. In general, Raintree’s icon of a yellow branch on a lime background (see right) can be associated with more general materials, good for lower level readers who have a personal interest in the subject, but do not need facts for a report of any kind, or want those facts for personal knowledge. In general, the Raintree books are shorter and more appropriate for a younger audience. The high quality pictures tend to dominate the page; paragraphs, chapters, and sections within chapters are kept very short. Most books appear to be written by a previously published professional author, assisted by a subject or content consultant whose level of expertise may vary: the Science Consultant for World’s Worst Germs has “40 years of experience in the field of education,” according to his autobiographical bubble on the back cover. The Medieval Europe Content Consultant, however, “teaches medieval history at the University of London.” Overall, the Enslow books have more complete, more in-depth information. Not only would they be helpful to students in this age group who need them for research, but they are well written and would work well for personal informational reading. The books are not limited to a very narrow topic (killer diseases) but encompass a larger topic (all microbes), which gives the reader a better overall view of the topic. The historical books are not as colorful, as they rely on black and white sketches or photos; book about more contemporary topics, however, incorporate very vivid photographs, vibrant page backgrounds, and colorful informational inserts. These books seem to be better organized as well; although the Raintree books do not exactly jump around, they do have a tendency to break off abruptly. With Enslow books, however, there is a natural conclusion and the reader feels more satisfied.

Although the Raintree books may have a use for young public or school library patrons, libraries watching their budgets would do well to purchase from Enslow before considering Raintree’s series.

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