A quick glance at the colorful cover of C Is for California lets you know that this is a book by kids and for kids. An enclosed postcard indicates that this is the first in a new series of books called See
My State. The bright colors and bold fonts lead you through this 32-page, hardcover, alphabetical guide to the state. Each letter stands for a place, event, or object relating to California. For each entry, there is a short poem as well as a photograph. For example, the statement for the letter "T" reads, "T is for Tahoe/Tahoe has a sparkling lake that is like icing on the cake." In the background is a photo of the lake surrounded by snowy mountains, evergreen trees, and boulders. At the end of the book is a three-page summary of the facts learned about the state followed by photos of the student authors (all K - 8th grade) and an alphabetical list of their names.
Although not a curriculum on its own, this book (designed for grades K-8) can be used in a number of ways for language arts. First, it lends itself well to helping young readers practice their new skills. It also introduces students to the genre of poetry or serves to show reluctant writers that poetry can be fun. Finally, the obvious pride from the student writers may inspire older students (or homeschool moms like me!) to write their own books about their state or hometown.
Another way to use this book, especially for the younger grades, is as a supplement to geography or history. Because of the added value of the students' perspective, the book is more than just a list of facts. Plus, on the back cover is small blue map of the United States with California in red, which provides additional geography reinforcement.
Pros: I liked this book immensely. It is delightfully fun and interesting, and the photography is terrific. As soon as I came to the end, I quickly flipped back to the beginning, went through it again, and then wanted to read another from the series. My four children, ages six to twelve, read it and all gave it an emphatic thumbs-up (accompanied by wide grins!).
Cons: The only "con" I can muster is the cost. At $12.95, the price may seem steep for a relatively short book, especially if you'd like to collect the series as it becomes available.
This book far surpassed my expectations. If I had seen only the name and the price tag, I might have easily skipped it without a second thought. However, after reading and enjoying it as I did, I would highly recommend this book to all families with younger kids or grandkids. For less than an outing to the movies, they can enjoy a travel experience that they can take over and over again!