Facts about native peoples in the United States and Canada presented in infographic form make up the substance of this visually interesting but problematic title.
Organized loosely into sections covering origins, society, foods and culture, this slim volume attempts to provide a visual snapshot of the many indigenous peoples of these two countries. Each double-page spread answers a question—“Where did they live?” “How did they eat?” “What do they believe?”—with a short paragraph and one or many graphics accompanied by further text. There are maps, graphs, word clouds, timelines and numbers galore. Some images are suitable for younger readers: “What can you make with a bison?” is a clear depiction of how that animal served as a “walking department store.” Others, such as a map combining symbols and colors for typical communities, social structures and kinship systems, require considerable visual literacy. The combination of generalities—“Generosity is an important aspect of Native American spirituality”—and statistics that vary from source to source makes the information that is so graphically presented suspect. A selected bibliography suggests the actor-turned-author consulted sources ranging from encyclopedias to websites from a variety of organizations. Occasional obvious errors (humans don’t walk at 10 mph) stand out.
Educators may find this an instructive reminder that big pictures often don’t reveal much. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)