Italy, the Land


32 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 0-7787-9737-6
DDC j945




Susannah D. Ketchum, a former teacher-librarian at the Bishop Strachan
School in Toronto, serves on the Southern Ontario Library Services


Belonging to the deservedly popular The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures
Series, this Italian trio of volumes illustrates, unfortunately, the
perils that can beset a series format. Each book contains many of the
trimmings beloved by teachers and librarians—a table of contents, an
index, and a glossary. However, nowhere will you find a bibliography or
Further Reading section.

It is difficult to avoid oversimplification in books for this age
level, but the language is often dismayingly pedestrian.

Worse, the author is occasionally careless. For example the caption
beneath a painting of Garibaldi includes the statement, “The French,
under the rule of Napoleon, controlled most of Italy’s land before
Garibaldi’s success in uniting Italy.” Since Garibaldi was only 14
when Napoleon died, the implied contemporaneity is misleading to say the

In another infelicitous juxtaposition, the reader is told that fascist
leaders “often have very patriotic views. They do not believe in
elections or free speech.” One last note, the splendid illustrations
are not always well-linked to the text.

Despite these criticisms, the volumes do succeed in conveying the
beauty of Italy and the joie de vivre that characterizes the Italian
people. Each page is a feast for the eyes. Recommended with


Nickles, Greg., “Italy, the Land,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024,