Mexico, the Land


32 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 0-86505-214-X
DDC j972




Reviewed by Kitty Emery

Kitty Emery is a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology at Cornell University in
New York.


In these three books, part of the Lands, Peoples, and Culture series,
Bobby Kalman presents a true mezcla of information and photographic
imagery designed to interest young minds. The large-format pages are
dominated by bright, beautiful photographs and illustrations. The
accompanying text is informative, although somewhat inconsistent in
presentation, making it difficult to define a target audience. While the
colorful pictures and occasional interactive stories and crafts would
appeal to younger children, the majority of the information is geared to
the young adult. The vocabulary is such that the glossary at the end of
each volume is a necessary addition for all but the most advanced
readers. Finally, while the books present a wide assortment of facts,
the discussions of pre-Columbian culture at the beginning of each volume
are repetitive and not always accurate.

Mexico: The Land provides an interesting description of the various
environmental regions of Mexico, while a later section describes the
wild Mexican flora and fauna. Mexico’s industries and agricultural
systems are presented in a hopeful spirit of economic potential and
growth (current concerns with the environmental issues of sustainability
and appropriate land use are not emphasized).

The discussion of cultural heritage with which Mexico: The People
begins presents a clear picture of the diversity of the Mexican
population. The descriptions of farm, village, and city life provide
further contrasts. Brief sections on family life, religion, language,
education, and heroes introduce sophisticated concepts (e.g., civil law,
literacy rates, and women’s rights) that are clearly intended for a
relatively mature audience.

Mexico: The Culture is by far the most interactive of the three
volumes, suggesting that the young reader could create Mexican-style
murals, learn the Mexican Hat dance, cook a Mexican meal, or make a
piсata. The instructions for some of these activities are relatively
detailed, but all require adult supervision and explanation. Replete
with charming photographs, fun ideas and stories, and less sophisticated
text, this is the most appealing of the Mexico volumes.

Although the tone of these books ranges from didactic to interactive,
they are always informative, and the photographs, illustrations, and
occasional stories and craft suggestions make them fun to read—a
recommended choice as a library loan. However, in view of the
inconsistency of presentation, I would recommend them with reservations.


Kalman, Bobbie., “Mexico, the Land,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,