October 15, 2016 Booklist 43 www.booklistonline.com
of each nation and its peoples reveal struggles (some still ongoing), triumphs, and the diverse traditions that helped shape it. Chile explores
how the thin but lengthy shape of the country results in the driest
desert in the world in the north to temperate rain forests in Patagonia in the far south. This book also discusses the political crisis that
led to the military rule of General Augusto Pinochet. Mongolia reveals
the extreme ruggedness of both the mountainous forest-steppe region
and the Gobi Desert as well as the country’s history of nomadic life.
Mongolia’s Chinese and Soviet Union influences are also examined.
Switzerland explains the country’s role in the Protestant Reformation,
its history of political neutrality, and its success in industry and trade.
Tibet emphasizes this nation’s long and continuing fight for independence from Chinese control, the selection of the Dalai Lama, and the
Dalai Lama’s role in the fight for freedom. Numerous maps and charts
and concluding “Fast Facts” round out the series, making it complete
for country reports. —Angela Leeper
MATTERS OF OPINION SERIES. NORWOOD. GR. 4–7.
Bullying. By Carla Mooney. 2016. 64p. illus., lib. ed., $27.93
Cell Phones. By Andrea C. Nakaya. 2016. 64p. illus., lib. ed.,
$27.93 (9781599537559). 004.167.
Obesity. By Stuart A. Kallen. 2016. 64p. illus., lib. ed., $27.93
School Violence. By Toney Allman. 2016. 64p. illus., lib. ed.,
$27.93 (9781599537573). 371.7.
Learning how to construct an argument for or against a topic can
be a tricky business, and these books in the Matters of Opinion series
do an excellent job of demonstrating how to write convincingly on
a number of weighty subjects. Each title begins with a topical time
line and an introduction to the issues that will be debated. Three
opinion-based questions follow, each in its own chapter, with pro
and con arguments as well as an explanation of a persuasive technique utilized by the chapter’s essays, such as bias, testimonials, or
the incorporation of primary sources. A concluding writing prompt
outlines essay structure for the readers’ own opinion pieces.
Bullying looks into cyberbullying, how schools handle this behavior, and
whether it should be a criminal offense. Cell Phones takes on the
distractions and potential dangers, usefulness, and social impacts of
these devices. Responsibility for curbing overweight populations is
passed from the food industry, to government regulation, to dieting
in Obesity, though exercise is glossed over. School Violence debates
the correlation between violent culture and school incidents, the effectiveness of rigid school security, and whether nonviolence can be
taught. All the books are thoroughly cited, which serves as an added
example of how to lend an argument credibility. Solid writing guides
that lead by example. —Julia Smith
ODD JOBS SERIES. CHERRY LAKE/45TH PARALLEL.
Big Animal Trainer. By Virginia Loh-Hagan. 2016. 32p.
illus., paper, $14.21 (9781634712910); lib. ed., $29.93
Bounty Hunter. By Virginia Loh-Hagan. 2016. 32p.
illus., paper, $14.21 (9781634712927); lib. ed., $29.93
Food Stylist. By Virginia Loh-Hagan. 2016. 32p. illus., paper,
$14.21 (9781634712934); lib. ed., $29.93 (9781634710954).
Pet Food Tester. By Virginia Loh-Hagan. 2016. 32p.
illus., paper, $14.21 (9781634712941); lib. ed., $29.93
These installments in the Odd Jobs series highlight paths less trav-
eled in the working world, and the novelty of each career is a big part
of the appeal. On pages broken up by stock photos, each title surveys
a few people working in the field (though there are no source notes),
offers a list of key jargon, describes some of the requirements for
the job, and closes with a chapter briefly—sometimes too briefly—
noting controversial aspects of the career. Although Big Animal
Trainer only covers in passing the ethics of forcing captive animals
to perform, Loh-Hagan emphasizes that it’s a dangerous job and it’s
important to treat animals well. Though the profession featured in
Bounty Hunter sounds thrilling, mistakes can be costly and lead to
serious legal consequences. Food Stylist emphasizes the importance
of creativity, artistic inclination, and love of food for success in this
job. Though Pet Food Tester gets much of its charm from its ick fac-
tor—“He gets a big tub. It’s filled with cat food. He puts his face in
it”—there’s plenty of information about what the job requires. The
direct, simple sentences are alarmingly abrupt, and curiously, though
they’re surely intended to make the text easier to read, the overall
paragraphs can be quite confusing. Best suited for larger collections.
SUPERSTATS SERIES. LITTLE BEE. GR. 2–5.
Superstats: Incredible Bugs. By Moira Butterfield. 2016. 64p.
illus., $11.99 (9781499802405). 595.7.
Superstats: Mega Structures. By Helen Greathead. 2016. 64p.
illus., $11.99 (9781499802412). 624.
The Superstats series collects pieces of facts and trivia and presents
them in an appealing manner that is accessible to young readers.
These two installments detail the number of ways in which the form
of something can so often determine its function. Incredible Bugs
explores the life cycles and abilities of a variety of insects. Double-page spreads focus on specific bugs, although a few sections look
more generally (“Bugs around the House” collects a group from carpenter bees to dust mites) or elaborate on traits that a variety of
insects share (“It’s a Smelly World!” investigates how bugs smell).
Though the organization varies from critter to critter, most pages
sport a “Fact File” box, which breaks down the basic purpose of each
insect. Mega Structures reveals facts on all kinds of engineering feats,
from the general (igloos, pools) to the specific (the Great Wall of
China, the Titanic). Facts on display here include details on how
long it took to build certain architectural structures, how the design
of certain buildings facilitates their use, and historical relevancy. This
series is well designed—boxed facts pop over glossy photos—and it’s
highly visual and exciting to look at. The organization is somewhat
arbitrary, although a detailed table of contents helps, and its quick-fact composition makes the series best suited for casual browsers.