Alfred Visits South Dakota
by Missie McPherson and Elizabeth O'Neil
Trafford Publishing

"Meet Alfred and his friend Mr. Monocole..."

Children’s books frequently bear a double burden. Not only do they need to entertain, in order to hold the attention of active youngsters, but more often than not, they need to educate as well. For it's between the covers of books where imagination and learning are seeded. Books for pre-school kids and beginning readers face the additional challenge of being simple enough to be easily understood, but interesting enough to be involving. Illustrations help meet that challenge in McPherson and O'Neill’s Alfred Visits South Dakota.

Alfred is an African elephant who wears sneakers. Mr. Monocle is his companion. Together they traverse the state of South Dakota making friends and learning a bit about history, geography, and Native American culture along the way. In a series of charming watercolors, the authors send their intrepid travelers along much of the same route Lewis and Clark mapped in their explorations. They see Mount Rushmore and learn the names of the U. S. Presidents enshrined there. They walk through the Bad Lands and the Black Hills. They commune with bold bison and brightly costumed natives. They even learn that the statue of Crazy Horse emerging from a mountainside is the largest sculpture in the world.

This is a slim book for adults to share with little children. It can be read in one sitting and flipped back through often to see if youngsters remembered what they learned. As both teaching aid and entertainment for a child, it serves its plate of information in a simple, pleasant way.

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