Books by Gilda Berger

CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2001

An introduction to ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings. The authors begin with how archaeologist Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, then move back 3,000 years to the time of Thutmosis I, who built the first tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Finally they describe the building of the tomb of a later Pharaoh, Ramses II. The backward-forward narration is not always easy to follow, and the authors attribute emotions to the Pharaohs without citation. For example, "Thutmosis III was furious [with Hatshepsut]. He was especially annoyed that she planned to be buried in KV 20, the tomb of her father." Since both these people lived 3,500 years ago, speculation on who was furious or annoyed should be used with extreme caution. And the tangled intrigue of Egyptian royalty is not easily sorted out in so brief a work. Throughout, though, there are spectacular photographs of ancient Egyptian artifacts, monuments, tomb paintings, jewels, and death masks that will appeal to young viewers. The photographs of the exposed mummies of Ramses II, King Tut, and Seti I are compelling. More useful for the hauntingly beautiful photos than the text. (brief bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

The Bergers present another solid and readable title in the Question and Answer Series, giving brief answers to tough questions about volcanoes and earthquakes: Where do they occur? What causes them? How do we measure them? Can we predict them? Do all volcanoes look alike? How often do earthquakes occur? Competent illustrations extend the text throughout, showing the reader the difference between a crater and a caldera, for instance, or mapping major plates of the earth's crust, and illustrating three kinds of volcanoes and three different types of eruptions. There are the predictable "disaster" illustrations, as well: San Francisco on fire in 1906 and earthquake damage in Alaska in 1964. One minor concern with the format is that some of the questions appearing in red type on a blue background are hard to read. The brief text is factual and somewhat understated. For example, the authors say, "Number 1 on the Richter scale can be seen on a seismograph, but can't be felt. Number 5 on the Richter scale is about as powerful as the explosion of a nuclear bomb. Anything over 8 means total destruction, usually with much loss of life." They do not explain, however, that an increase of one whole number on the scale indicates a ten-fold increase in the magnitude of the quake. Nor do they make clear how a nuclear bomb causes less than total destruction. No sources or notes are given for the information included. Still, there's a lot of information in this glossily bound package. With the glowing red volcano on the cover, clear white spaces, snappy question-and-answer format, and brief index, this title will have wide appeal for science readers and browsers. (Nonfiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 1995

The Bergers (The Whole World of Hands, 1982, etc.) encourage readers to become detectives, searching for clues hidden in rocks and fossils to solve the mystery of how the dinosaurs became extinct. Rocks are ``like the pages in a book,'' containing fossils that ``tell the story of what happened long ago.'' From them, scientists know how big the dinosaurs were, how they lived, what they ate, and how fast they ran. But, the authors note, clues to their disappearance are still being found; an important crater was discovered as recently as 1992. The discussion of scientific theories will make readers believe that they can make a contribution to the subject, too. This strong work on a perennially favorite subject will pique children's curiosity, while Harrison's full-color naturalistic drawings will satisfy even seasoned dinosaur enthusiasts. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10) Read full book review >
MEG'S STORY by Gilda Berger
HEALTH
Released: Jan. 1, 1992

Meg's honest, first-person entry in the ``Get Real!'' series tells of a less usual route to drugs—prescriptions after a head injury—but the results are still devastating. By high school, this upper-class teen was into acid, sex for drugs, and high- speed car races. Placement in group and foster homes for incorrigibility did no good. Before rehabilitation was begun in earnest, she had a history of abortion, dealing, stealing, and arrests. Speaking after two drug-free years, Meg has gone to college and is taking calculus; she works, cleaning homes for a living, and is now involved in positive relationships. The post- rehab group she cites as most helpful is PRIDE (Parent Resource Institute and Drug Education). As in Joey's Story (1991), Berger does a believable, engaging job with this type of real-life presentation. Resource list; posed b&w photos simulate the events. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >
JOEY'S STORY by Gilda Berger
HEALTH
Released: Oct. 15, 1991

Although not announced as ``high-interest, low-vocabulary,'' this mature account of multiple addiction would make a useful addition to a list of such titles. Joey learned about alcohol and violence from his immature parents (an abusive, irresponsible father and an adulterous mother). He tells his story in an honest, conversational tone, especially touching when he describes how he distanced himself from his problems. His introduction to the world of drugs is typical in some ways (not liking beer, then getting used to its taste) but not in all (being dared by his father to consume). Barely out of his teens, Joey has already been through a lot: depression, stealing, gambling, pushing, violence toward his wife, the pressures of fatherhood, a sister killed by her lover. Still, he's in treatment and on the way back, with potential as a musician and as a caring person. Ironically, his story would have been better supported by thoughtful photos from the present rather than the posed model shots of his past; but, overall, the book has real impact, making the possible seem believable. Resources. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >