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ARKANSAS COLORING BOOK

1 rating: 3.0
A book by BRENDA ZODROW

This book traces the development of Arkansas from the time it was home to the American Indians, through the territorial period, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement, up to the present day. There are fifty-two illustrations and informative captions … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: BRENDA ZODROW
Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
1 review about ARKANSAS COLORING BOOK

The best there is

  • Nov 28, 2007
Rating:
+3
It is hard to rate this book, because there is so little on Arkansas history available for kids that anything at all deserves a place on your bookshelf if you live or teach in Arkansas. So I can tell you at the outset that I think you should have a copy of this book.
The drawings are fairly rudimentary. They are probably too detailed for really young children to enjoy coloring; the spread for Hot Springs, for example, has pictures of people less than an inch tall.
On the other hand, the drawings are not of a quality to encourage older kids or adults to enjoy coloring them. The same spread for Hot Springs has a few vehicles and storefronts, incomplete pictures of people (feet missing, or the idea of a human suggested by roughly traingular blobs), and then a great deal of empty space. The overall effect of the pictures is what you would get if you put tracing paper over an old photograph and hastily sketched around the outlines.
The text has similar problems. Still on Hot Springs, we get three sentences outlining the entire history of the town -- and yet the last of the three is "People from all over the world came to Hot Springs to bathe in the mineral waters, which they believed could cure many ills." A reader young enough to find three sentences sufficient for a historical overview is too young to understand the construction of that sentence, or to be familiar with the noun "ills."
A discussion of De Soto refers to "Indian villages," a term no longer used in polite company and not even understood by many children. A page on Reconstruction says that "many people did not have jobs, so they were very poor," which is a misleading and even confusing claim to make about a pre-industrial, agricultural state. A page about the Union soliders from Arkansas explains that "They wanted to preserve the United States," a statement incomprehensible without some explanation of secession. And yet, while these oversimplifications are used, presumably to make the text accessible to children, words like "flee" and "pursued" and "prosperity" stud the pages.
So it isn't art, and there is some uncertainty about audience. Nonetheless, this book does touch on all the major historical topics from prehistory to the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century. For the homeschool or classroom, coloring the pages will help cement lessons on Arkansas history, and the book contains important names and dates that Arkansas kids ought to know. The information is accurate, even when the phrasing makes it less clear than we would want it to be, in a perfect world. The author might have been caught in the situation of knowing that hers would be the only such book available, and therefore trying to be all things to all possible readers.
Until something better comes along, it is worth having a copy.

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