February 25, 2010

Struggle for a Continent

Struggle for a Continent by Betsy Maestro 
Overall I felt that this book did an excellent job teaching about the French and Indian Wars. The pictures were very helpful but sometimes a little bloody. Nothing gross, but it was there. We enjoyed learning about many of the battles and tactics and then discussed how we might have done it or what they should have done differently. I had each boy build a model of a battle when we were done and they had fun blowing up Lego guys and shooting down rows of soldiers. Should that worry me?

Most of the Maestro books have a slight White Man Is Bad flavor to them. We always take the time to discuss that hurtful and unjust things were done on both sides. I feel that the value of the books (especially since there are very few children's books about the French and Indian Wars) outweigh the negatives.

This book was a little harder for my 6-yr-old to understand. He's been great with the earlier books but I think all the names and battles and such made it difficult to remember. Probably best for 2nd or 3rd grade on up.  Recommended.

Yes, those are Pokemon posing as the French, English and Indians in the first picture.  We strive for realism here.  In the second picture, the cannonballs are suspended on yarn to show them "flying through the air."  He has several miniature cannons set up on the bookcase to lob said cannonballs.  The purple yarn in the bottom picture represents fire and there are several "Lego men who have been blown to pieces and there is blood everywhere."  Lovely. 

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