The Spectacular World of Waldorf: Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Mysterious China, by Barbara Terry, Beth Ann Stifflemire and Vladimir Kirchenko ISBN 9781943277636
Four out of five stars
Like the other books in this series that I have read and reviewed, this one does a good job in introducing some of the characteristics of China to the young reader. The level of the text is roughly that of the second grader and the images are colorful, attractive and descriptive.
Mr. Waldorf travels to the People’s Republic of China, goes to Beijing and the internal Forbidden City, visits the Great Wall, walks the banks of the Yangtze River and climbs Mount Everest before going back to Beijing to take in a fireworks display. Along the way, Mr. Waldorf engages in conversations with other sentient animals.
An emerging weakness is that the plots of the books in the series are very formulaic, there is a growing need for the authors to inject something different. One feature that would be very helpful would be a map of China showing the location of the places visited. There is a map of China on one of the first pages but it has no location markings. That is a simple and obvious improvement.
One thing that I consider to be a major error occurs in the section on the Great Wall. Mr. Waldorf asks a Chinese girl the specific question, “Where did such a great wall come from?” and her answer is, “It’s been here for over 2000 years and one of the longest structures ever built.” This does not address the question, which could have been answered by the inclusion of another sentence of text. Questions posed in educational books should always be given direct answers.
Another point that should have been made is the distinction of the two Chinas. Mr. Waldorf visits the People’s Republic of China and there is of course the Republic of China or Taiwan. Since it is listed as a nation, children should be informed of this. It could have been an action as simple as saying, “The People’s Republic of China, which we will call China.”
Overall, this is a good educational book, while there are errors of omission, young readers will still learn from it.
This book was made available for free for review purposes.