Looking for a truly engaging fact-filled book to accompany geography
studies? Sleeping Bear Press has the answer in D Is for Dala
Horse, one in a series of "Discover the World" books. Our
children have long enjoyed the alphabet-style books that Sleeping
Bear Press is known for, and this book about several Nordic countries
does not disappoint. It is one of about 13 books designed to teach
about nations of the world.
D Is for Dala Horse takes the reader on a tour of Nordic
nations, using the alphabet to introduce fun and memorable topics.
Pages include "A" is for Arctic Circle, "E" is for Everyman's Right
(a unique approach to use of public & private lands for all), "H" is
for Hans Christian Andersen, "L" is for Lingonberries and Lutefisk, "R" is
for Runestones, Reindeer, and Rosemaling, and "V" is for Vikings.
There is a wide variety of topics, covering famous people, locations
in each Nordic nation, art, and even food, offering a broad range
of learning opportunities. Complementing each letter is a large
colorful illustration in a watercolor style, and these were quite
appealing to my young readers.
For each letter of the alphabet, there is a short poem as well
as multi-paragraph text. This two-tiered format of text meets the
needs of all levels of readers. The short rhyming poem about the
key word can be read aloud to a younger child or read independently
by a young reader, though the vocabulary sometimes proves to be
a bit of a challenge. These poems are in a slightly larger font
than the other text, making them stand out on the page. The author
manages to represent many countries within one book, focusing mostly
on similarities in Nordic culture.
The more challenging text on each page comprises multiple paragraphs
that contain much more detailed information than the short poem.
These paragraphs run along the outer edges of the page and go into
enough depth to make the book a valuable resource on a wide variety
The "Discover the World" series has a companion website: www.discovertheworldbooks.com where
readers can find a variety of country-specific games, maps, and
activities that might add to the learning experience. Keep in mind
that these links take you off the main website and onto independent
websites that might change periodically and perhaps not be family-friendly.
We were disappointed to find one page with a broken link when browsing
online. While this website is a nice addition in theory, it does
not add any real value to the book itself, which is valuable on
its own. For families wishing to pursue extra learning about Nordic
countries, independent Web searches would likely suffice without
the specialized website the book offers.
We really enjoy the way D Is for Dala Horse appeals
to all the children in our family, and that, coupled with its attractive
cover art, is enough to keep the book on our shelves permanently.
Whether it's used for fun or for specifically educational purposes,
this book is a gem and worth seeking out.