Sunday, August 16, 2020

Summer Reading 2020: Beginning to End (Blastoff Readers)

Beginning to End from Bellwether

K-Gr 3—This series offers bright colors, clear photos, and information about the origins of everyday items. Captions and labels identify important elements in the photos, such as the bobbins in a textile mill or the pasteurizer in a dairy. The text provides clear explanations with key terms in boldface. Each title contains a map showing one location in the world where the raw materials are produced, such as cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast. Another common feature is a flowchart of the production process (in Bulb to Tulip, there's a life cycle chart for tulips). Many of the books use a pictograph to emphasize facts: how many paper products are made from recycled paper, or how many trees are lost to clear land for cocoa farming. Others have inset photos calling attention to the various equipment or processes used—grinding and conching chocolate, or carding and combing cotton. There are also blurbs about the amount of water used to produce one glass of milk or one T-shirt; these would make excellent discussion points or research topics. Pumpkin Seed to Pie even contains a recipe. Back matter includes a glossary defining all the highlighted terms, an index, suggestions for further reading, and directions for using the FactSurfer website. Another plus is the inclusion of topics beyond the usual "tomatoes to ketchup." VERDICT A valuable update to collections.

My review was first published by School Library Journal in April 2020.

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