A Kid’s Guide to Southern California by Eric Brown


A Kid's Guide to Southern California by Eric BrownChildrenNonfiction

A Kid’s Guide to Southern CaliforniaEric Brown; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1988WorldCat

Illustrated by Richard Brown

Review by Molly

Work includes information about “What’s it like there”, “Getting There”, “Getting Around”, “Lets Get Started”, “Native Americans”, “Under Spanish and Mexican Rule”, “Statehood and Beyond”, and “Lights, Camera, Action”. Shopping, the LA Zoo, and sites of interest are listed.  La Brea Tar Pits, The LA County Museum of Art, Griffith Park, Disneyland and Knotts Berry Far, Universal and NBC Studio Tours, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Palm Springs and Death Valley are detailed. Sea World, Balboa Park, Shelter Point, Old Town,  and Cuyamaca State Park are featured. Car games, puzzles and more are all provided for the traveler planning a trip to Southern California.

Being a misplaced Californian; born in the Bay Area, raised in the South end of the San Joaquin Valley, and an often visitor to all areas California north, south, east and west, I was pleased to find this book for review.

Most folks who do not know the state know only beach, beach, beach that is what they see offered on TV. A Kid’s Guide to Southern California sets the record straight right from page 1: do bring a swim suit, but also include a coat. You will find use for both. I like the travel diary for children offered on the first few pages of the book.  More pages as well as word search puzzles, scramble words, fill in fact sheets and the like for children are scattered through out the book. Little tidbits of fact, “did you know” are offered here and there as pages of the work are read. Snow fall in San Diego, the San Andreas fault, trolleys, the freeway system, pictographs, California population, the propagation of boysenberries, the mission system, how to pronounce many Spanish words, the Magnolia standing in Old Plaza, Joshua Trees, Mt. Whitney, and rainfall in Death Valley are but a smattering of the tidbits provided. A nice outline map is included so kids can trace their route from home to Southern California is a good touch. Map symbols are explained. Tips on what to do should you get lost need to be read and discussed by child and parent several times before the date of departure, and again during the trip.

As a teacher I find the section on California,s early history is very informative.  I plan to use some of the information with my class here in Oklahoma as we wind down our year.  The connection between Oklahoma and California has remained STRONG from before Dust Bowl Days.  Places I have visited, Olvera Street, Chinatown, Ports of Call, Lax Union Station, Old Town San Diego, Main Street-Adventure Land-The Jungle Ride-Bear Country Jamboree-Disneyland, Buena Park only 10 minutes from Disneyland is Knotts Berry Farm: the nation’s oldest amusement park where visitors pan for gold, take a train or stage coach ride and duck during the shoot out on Main Street, La Brea Tar Pits, Hollywood and Mann’s Theatre, Magic Mountain nearly 300 acres of fun on Interstate 5 north of LA, are all mentioned and reading about them bring happy memories.

Groans as we do a little map reading sound often from my students, I suspect the road map of Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Fernando Valley is going to met with a great deal of interest. Another similar map of San Diego is offered as well. What a great read, and I’m well past being a kid!!  I am a tad homesick, again!

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