"'Belize has everything – great weather, nice people, cool animals, pirates, and ruins. I cannot wait to experience it all!' Frederick added."

Many educators believe children learn best by exploring the natural world around them, but unfortunately, not all children are privileged to be prolific travelers. Books such as the picture book series by Moldenhauer open up new worlds for kids, introducing them to new places and cultures. In this latest adventure in the Spin the Globe series, the narrator, Frederick, wakes up to find himself on a beach in Belize. He meets a new friend, K'ayab, who is descended from the ancient Maya. K'ayab introduces Frederick to the many wonders of Belize, from its historical roots as a makeshift home for shipwrecked Europeans to its many ecological treasures. Along the way, Frederick meets another friend, Haya, whose father operates a dive shop. Frederick joins Haya and K'ayab as they help scientists release two rehabilitated sea turtles back into the ocean. After celebrating the release of the sea turtles at a party with his new friends and their neighbors, Frederick "spins" off into another adventure.

This story is a jewel in Moldenhauer's clever series. The author manages to cram the picture book full of fascinating facts without allowing them to slow down the pace of Frederick's adventures. The story transitions nicely from historical information to cultural awareness to environmental appreciation. For children who love animals, the book would serve as a useful springboard for further research into exotic species such as the tapir, kinkajou, and jabiru. It's very difficult to sum up everything a country has to offer within the span of a children's book, but the author pulls it off admirably. It may not have been the author's intention, but in addition to introducing children to the wonders of Belize, Moldenhauer presents them with an exciting career possibility. Budding marine biologists will eagerly absorb the sea turtle facts in the appendix.


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