Top critical review
A Good Book to Read With Your Kid ... True Rating 3.5 stars
Reviewed in the United States on October 13, 2013
I recently read this book with my 8 year old son. I think that it would have been better for him had I waited till he was 10. I rate it 3.5 stars because there were some grammatical errors and, although written for kids, the history was not always perfectly accurate, perhaps due to the author needing to simplify the text for young readers (or just not knowing better). The book basically covers the story of America's westward movement in the 1800s, settlers, gold miners, some US Army-Indian wars (the Sioux War when Custer was killed and the Nez Perce War with Chief Joseph). It closes with a "whatever happened to" chapter that tells what became of the historical characters mentioned in the book. The author's format was good which is comprised of short sections so you can read just a few pages a night with your kid and then discuss some of the details and ask questions. Of course, kids can read it by themselves, but I think reading it with your kid(s) is better to make sure they understand (sometimes I had to define new words or explain an expression, such as "we drove the soldiers out of the village") and to add further context and have a discussion/ask questions. The text is accompanied by the occasional cartoon-styled image of people in the text. I recommend the book but also think it should be read with an adult, especially one who has background in the subject so he/she can give more detail or make minor corrections. I see that most other readers here gave the book five-stars, but I think that is pushing it on this particular book. Had I known nothing of the topic, I probably would have given it 4 stars. Best case scenario: it gets your kid interested in reading further on the topic; worst case scenario: they can't wait to stop reading so they can go back to watching SpongeBob.