The U.S. Constitution and You, Second Edition

The U.S. Constitution and You, Second Edition by Syl Sobel, J.D.  Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 2012.  48 pages.  Publisher recommends for ages 8-10.

I had hopes that the second edition of “The U.S. Constitution and You” would be better than the first. Unfortunately, it’s still a confusing book. It presents a very complex set of information.  The attempts made to simplify the information only make it more confusing. For instance there is no indication of how the president is chosen. Besides that, there is a diagram of “The President and the Departments of the Cabinet,” but nowhere in the text is there a discussion of what the Cabinet is. There is a focus on the judicial branch of government, but the author uses “court” to mean federal courts in some cases and state courts in others.

The pictures in the book are still black white and blue drawings. They still look like they come from a 1950s textbook.

There is an indication in this edition that the Framers are sometimes referred to as “The Founding Fathers.”  And the sentences that started with “We call this…” In the previous edition have been replaced, yet the tone is still condescending.

What was the “Selected Bibliography” in the first edition is called a “Resource Guide” in this edition.

This edition adds a discussion question at the end of some of the chapters. However, the answers to the discussion questions are not always in the chapter just read. At the end of the introduction, the discussion question is “Who gives the U.S. government its power?”  Yet nothing is written about who gives the government its power in the introduction.

As with the previous edition, I wish I could say something positive about this book. Instead, however, I find it muddies an already complex set of information.


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