If You Were Me and Lived In…
This will be a 3 book review. Carole P. Roman recently sent me three more of her “If You Were Me and Lived in…” series. Because my comments on each of them are very similar, I decided to do a sort of ‘Master Review’.
These books are all meant to introduce beginning chapter readers to cultures, locations, and/or time periods. They commonly include what you might eat, what your name might be, what clothes you might wear, and some famous landmarks/major historical events. The backs of some (time period oriented ones) include pictures and brief descriptions of famous people from then. All include a glossary in the final few pages.
The books I received (titles link to Goodreads) were:
- If You Were Me and Lived in … Ancient China
- If You Were Me and Lived in … The American West
- If You Were Me and Lived in … Brazil
The three major talking points of each book are:
- Han Dynasty
- Silk Road
- Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism
…The American West
- Great Migration of 1983
- Oregon Trail
- Various Native American Tribes
- Rio De Janeiro
- Carnival of Brazi
I like that the author doesn’t allow his or her views to greatly impact how she presents things. Instead she just presents them as: This is how it was/is. I/You may not think it’s right, but that doesn’t matter. I always enjoy finding interesting facts in these books that I had no clue about. They are very simply written (as they should be), but the facts are still interesting regardless of your age. None of them are overly long so shorter attention spans can
These books have great potential, but having reviewed several now I see recurring problems that need addressed to make them as good as possible. The editing is inconsistent. Whereas the Ancient China book was very well edited, the Brazil book – for example – had several issues in it, including spelling a word right and wrong in the same paragraph. I have the general impression that these are cranked out very fast, and as a result the quality control suffers. Also, whilst I fully support the idea of bringing a diversity of illustrations to the series, in reality it just doesn’t work out well. Simply having consistent illustrations would make the books seem a more cohesive unit.
Overall, I do like this series, and I would recommend people pick it up. They are great introductions to cultures, locations, and periods for little kids. I would just like to see a few tweaks made to ensure that each book hits a consistently high standard that I know they are capable of achieving.