Asia is the world's largest continent, both in land area and in population. But did you know that in India alone, people speak more than 1,000 languages? Or that not everyone agrees about which countries should be considered part of Asia? Learn more about the diverse continent of Asia, from its people and countries to its landforms, economy, and more. Each book in this series highlights major landforms, climate, natural resources, countries, and cultures of the continent, making for an engaging and well-rounded read. Sidebars, maps, a glossary, a Further Reading section, and an index introduce readers to important nonfiction features and support and enhance the main text.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Tackling a subject as vast as a continent in forty pages is quite a task, but the books in the “Searchlight” series do provide a decent introduction. However, the map on the opening spread makes South America and Africa look too skinny. The size of each continent and its geographic extremes, are noted as well. Asia, for example, is diverse—it has the highest place on earth as well as the lowest. The boundaries and number of countries in Asia are noted and named on a map. Another map displays the climate zones. The section about natural resources focuses on animals and plant life. A brief look at the people and cultures in Asia ranges from the Arabs who are mostly Muslims in the Middle East, to Russia with a mix of Christianity and Muslim religions, and then to India where most people are Hindi. The haji and a picture of Mecca are also part of this chapter. Economics focuses on goods and resources and notes that almost half of the world’s oil and coal come from Asia. A map presenting where major resources are located on the continent is included, but readers must flip to a previous or upcoming map to identify the countries having that resource. A page titled “Exploring Asia” urges readers to find out about three more countries and to answer some suggested questions. The book closes with a glossary, suggested books and websites to learn more, and a very short index. A feature setting this series apart from many others is a boxed green text related to the paragraph that a child has just read. Some appear in the form of questions. If used properly, they can certainly aid in testing retention and help readers focus on what is important in a text segment. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot; Ages 8 to 11.
School Library Journal
11/01/2015 Gr 3–5—From the striking full-color satellite cover images to the engaging text, informative maps, and high-quality illustrations, every aspect of these titles conveys the basic themes of geography to introduce the continents. Each volume opens with an interesting fact and locator map, followed by chapters about the continent's countries and cities, landforms, climate, and animals, natural resources, peoples and cultures, and economies. Coverage isn't comprehensive; rather, the authors use iconic examples, such as Carnival for South America, emperor penguins for Antarctica, and the pyramids for Africa. Topics are illustrated with large color photos, and there are at least five informative maps per book, a major strength. Captions provide information or ask comprehension or critical thinking questions. VERDICT Solid choices for elementary collections.