The Supreme Court (A True Book)

The Supreme Court (A True Book) by Patricia Ryon Quiri.  Children’s Press, 1998.  43 pages.  Publisher recommends for grades 3-5.

The Supreme Court is the highest court of the judicial branch of government. The judicial branch of government, along with the legislative branch and the executive branch, were created by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has a rich history, and it has decided many cases that have had a profound effect on the United States.

This book is clearly a textbook about the Supreme Court. The type font is large and there’s lots of white space, making it a more comfortable book for children to read. It’s a factual book and an historical book. It notes several of the courts important decisions, for instance Marbury v. Madison and Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

Color photographs fill the book, taking up space that otherwise might hold words kids would have to read, and also adding information by showing how people such as Justice Earl Warren looked.  There are also some black-and-white photographs and some drawings, for instance of the first Supreme Court justices.

Immediately following the text there is a page called “To Find Out More.” Most of the books listed here seem to be out of print.  The next page is titled “Organizations and Online Sites.”  Some sites listed here are still active and some are not.

The next page is “Important Words.”  In the text of the book itself, both “federal” and “national” are used. The list of important words would be stronger if it included “federal” and “national.”

The index is complete except that it leaves out “federal” and “national.”

The “Meet the Author” page is very interesting because it reads like an author page and adult nonfiction work. In other words, it establishes Quiri’s credentials for writing this book. After reading this book in which the concepts seem very clearly and carefully aimed at third to fifth graders, it seems out of place that the last page written for adults.

“The Supreme Court” is certainly not an enjoyable book. It’s a utilitarian book, and it gets the job done in a way that just might make the Supreme Court interesting to third thru fifth graders.

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