Afghanistan to Zimbabwe
by Andrew Wojtanik
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up–Alphabetically organized fast facts about each of the world's 192 independent nations are listed here. Most of the information presented, with the exception of the black-and-white maps, could just as easily be found in an encyclopedia or almanac. However, for maps, flags, and a few fast facts, a good world atlas, such as The World Almanac World Atlas (Hammond, 2005) would suffice. What Afghanistan does, and does nicely, is bring most of the information together in a no-frills package. After listing the name of the country, area, population, capital, and so on, each entry provides additional facts grouped under three headings–â??Physical,â?? â??Political,â?? and â??Environmental/Economic.â?? At the end of the book, â??Geographic Extremesâ??–the biggest, longest, etc., for each continent are noted. Visually the volume is unremarkable. The introductory section, â??Things You Need to Know,â?? directs readers to the National Geographic Web site for printable versions of the maps in the book. This is an additional purchase, particularly useful for schools in which students participate in the National Geographic Bee or for whom geographical facts are a passion.–Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City
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