A replacement of The First Book of Israel (1953) that is entirely new, this is also, surprisingly, the only introduction for the upper elementary grades that is succinct and comprehensive, i.e., the only one that doesn't focus on history or current events or daily life. (Others, like The Land and People, are more detailed and older in appeal.) A smooth, non-didactic narrative that could be read for pleasure is supported by well-chosen, well-placed photographs, maps, etc. Together they explain the history of the land that is now Israel (pausing for a look at Masada, at Old Testament and New Testament sites) up to independence; the tensions between Western and Oriental immigrants; the role of minorities (ignoring restrictions on the Arab Israelis); government; language; education; universal military service; holidays (after noting that ""not too many practice the religion of Judaism in the strictly orthodox fashion""); farming (only 20% of the population currently); technology; then places--the Negev, new cities, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem. Mrs. Kubic lives in Israel and she sympathizes with its purposes--in some cases (the Sinai Campaign, the Six-Day War) to the extent of unbalancing and distorting her account. Nevertheless, well worth having, the necessary information interspersed with many interesting sidelights.