BOOKNEWS AND REVIEWS
The Treasury of the Encyclopaedia Britannica Organized by Clifton Fadiman (Editor) with a Preface by Daniel J. Boorstin. Viking Penguin, 1992.
This one volume compendium of classical articles taken from the first (1768-1771) through fifteenth (1984) editions is a wonderful resource for the gifted adolescent who would like to explore the great ideas of our civilization through reading original essays by such individuals as Jacques Barzun, Marie Curie, W.E.B. Du Bois, Carl Sagan, and Lee Strasberg. This book is a journey through the history of ideas, and a mainstay for those curious individuals who seek comprehensive sources of knowledge. Part One presents numerous articles on eight general topics, e.g., "Sound Mind and Healthy Body," "How We Behave," and "Technology." The reader should keep in mind that the articles under these topics are from earlier editions of the Britannica going back to the 1700s. Therefore, one can understand the state of knowledge during previous eras by reading these articles. For example, the Technology section presents a discussion of "The Typewriter" (9th edition -- 1875-1889) and "Wireless Telephony" (13th edition -- 1926). The second article was written by Guglielmo Marconi, a Nobel Prize winner in physics (1909) and the inventor of the wireless telegraph. Our favorite essays are in Part Two where world renowned experts write about their life's work. Here, one can read Lee Strasberg on "Acting," Bertrand Russell on "The Philosophical Consequences of Relativity," Arnold Toynbee on "The Cycle of Time," John Muir on "Yosemite," Albert Einstein on "Space-Time, and H. L. Mencken on "The American Language." This book will appeal to the gifted student's voracious search for information about the origins of almost every important area of human knowledge.
Paperbacks from the Chicago Review Press. Ordering Address: 814 North Franklin Street; Chicago, IL 60610; Telephone 312-337-0747. The following books are attractive, well-designed, and reasonably priced "How To" books which appeal to gifted children (upper elementary level) and adolescents (secondary level):
Real Toads in Imaginary Gardens: Suggestions and Starting Points for Young Creative Writers by Stephen P. Policoff and Jeffrey Skinner. 1992. Presents many interesting chapters on how to write stories poems and plays. Some of these chapters are, "The Most Important Writing Tool Ever Invented (More or Less)," "Help! I've Got No Plot!" "What Is Poetry, Anyway?" and "A Strangely Intriguing Reading List." If a gifted child likes to write stories, essays and poems, he or she will find this book to be very useful.
Seeing For Yourself: Techniques and Projects for Beginning Photographers by Roger Gleason. 1992. Covers the basics of photography from making "Images Without Cameras" to "Presenting and Storing Your Photographs." This is a topic which needs more emphasis in programs for the gifted to develop their aesthetic appreciation of visual images. Gleason's book will help to achieve this goal.
The Art Of The Handmade Book: Designing, Decorating, and Binding One-of-a-Kind Books by Flora Fennimore. 1992. Describes the fundamentals of a fascinating hobby including "How Books Came To Be," "Methods of Binding," and "Special Kinds of Books To Design." This is an outstanding resource for children who are mechanically and artistically gifted.
Stimulating Instructional Materials From Educational Impressions (see our review of other materials from this company in the last issue of GIFTED EDUCATION NEWS-PAGE, Volume 2, Number 2). Ordering Address and Catalog Information: Department GEP; 210 Sixth Avenue; P.O. Box 77; Hawthrone, NJ 07507; Telephone -- 800-451-7450.
Meet The Classic Authors: Twain/Alcott/Melville (VHS Video Tape). 1987. This particular tape in the four volume video series entitled, "Meet The Classic Authors," gives a comprehensive coverage of the lives of Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott and Herman Melville. Gifted girls will be particularly fascinated with the story of Alcott's life. All gifted children will like the exciting real life adventures of Twain and Melville, which gave them many ideas for their stories such as Life on the Mississippi and Moby Dick.
Native American Cultures: A Study Unit to Promote Critical and Creative Thinking by Rebecca Stark. 1992. Here is an interesting paperback on Indian cultures of the United States including tribes of the Northeast woodlands, the Southeast, the Great Plains, and the Southwest. Includes many nice line drawings and a colorful poster of tribal activities. This is a good resource for primary level gifted children.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND CONTACTS RELATED TO EDUCATING THE GIFTED
SUSAN WINEBRENNER AND BARBARA DEVLIN, Consultants on Gifted Education have written a very detailed article for GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY, SPRING 1993 ISSUE on how regular classroom teachers can effectively teach gifted students. The method for attaining success is called "cluster grouping." Subscriptions to this periodical (including the Winebrenner & Devlin article) can be ordered from GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS at the bargain rate of $8.00 for ONE and $15.00 for TWO YEARS!
THE 1993 SHAKESPEARE CATALOG has recently been released. It contains hundreds of high quality resources for teaching students about Shakespeare and his plays. Be certain to see to see our (GEP's) two books on teaching Shakespeare to gifted students on page 33. Order this catalog free-of-charge from: Social Studies School Service; 10200 Jefferson Boulevard; P.O. Box 802; Culver City, CA 90232-0802; Tel. -- 800-421-4246.
AUTHOR CONTACTS (Write these individuals to obtain information about their work.): Rosiland Miller is developing a young reader's guide to art history. Write her at 4300 39th Street, South; St. Petersburg, FL 33711. John Trammell has developed materials for teaching gifted students about ancient Egyptian and Roman civilizations. He is also working on semantics studies for the gifted. Write him at 10962 Greenaire Place; Richmond, VA 23233. Eugenia Hancock and Ann Smith have completed a nifty alphabetical "tour" through the Southwest with emphasis on Indian and Mexican-American cultures, and the landscape of this region. This is a stimulating book for the primary grade gifted. Write them at 5250 McNeils Road; St. Johns, MI 48879. Judith Levicoff is working on an "audio-visual, interactive, hands-on" program entitled, Magical Migrating Monarchs. She is an expert on these and other butterflies, and a naturalist with extensive experience in teaching elementary school children about habitats. Write her at P.O. Box 212; Jenkintown, PA 19046.
CHAPLIN (Tri-Star Pictures, 1993) MOVIE REVIEW BY MICHAEL E. WALTERS
The movie, Chaplin, is a wonderful testament to artistic genius. A young actor, Robert Downey, Jr., portrays the great silent film star with maturity and sensitivity. The screen play was written by three excellent writers -- William Boyd, Bryan Forbes, and William Goldman. Richard Attenborough, the Director, has previously won an Academy Award for his film biography of Mahatma Gandhi. Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin's daughter) played her own grandmother. Charles Spencer Chaplin (1889-1977) was not only the universal comic of our times, but his giftedness included writing, directing and composing music for his films. This movie depicts the gifted aspects of chaplin's creations by showing how the cognitive, affective and physical realms were performed with gestalt-like perfection. The gifted student can easily identify with Chaplin's poetic, comedic and artistic achievements. His films, The Great Dictator (1940) and Modern Times (1936), are models of the cinematic art. The Great Dictator is one of the greatest political satires of all time. Modern Times is an examination of the impact of technology upon modern industry and society, and upon how it distorts the human personality. As elementary school students during the 1950s in Norfolk, Virginia, we viewed Chaplin's films on rainy days. We were stimulated both intellectually and artistically by films. But at the same period of time, the Attorney General of the United States deemed the entry of Charlie Chaplin into this country from England as detrimental to the national well-being. The film, Chaplin, demonstrates why this politically hysterical act was an attack on human giftedness. This actor served then and now as an artistic stimulus to many individuals, including this reviewer. ››››
********Maurice D. Fisher, Publisher, © Gifted Education Press, February-March 1993********