How the U.S. Government Works

978-0-7641-4792-0. ea vol: 48p. illus. glossary. index. Barron's. 2012. pap. $6.99.
Gr 3–5—The first book describes the makeup and functions of the three branches of government and includes updates on how a bill becomes a law and on the many departments and agencies of the Executive branch. Elections delves into campaigns, the electoral college, presidential succession, and other related topics; it includes the 2008 presidential race and new electoral vote totals from the 2010 Census. Constitution explains many aspects of our governing document, including how it was written, how it can be changed, and some of its key provisions. It has been updated to include topics for classroom discussion throughout. The author presents the information in a manner that will be understandable to children. Unfortunately, the books' format will not hold their interest. The illustrations consist of sketches done in black, white, and shades of blue. Everything is drawn, even the maps and an illustration showing part of the preamble to the Constitution. No photographs or facsimile documents are incorporated. Lists of related books and websites are not included in Government. Many libraries will already own books about these topics, and these sources do not offer anything unique or new. For basic information presented in a more appealing format, consider William David Thomas's "My American Government" series (Gareth Stevens) or Ernestine Giesecke's "Kids' Guide to Government" series (Heinemann).—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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