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The U.S. Supreme Court
This title covers these subjects: Judges., Courts., United States -- Supreme Court -- History.
The U.S. Supreme Court
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Reviewed Titles Print Book Supported by Capstone Interactive Accelerated Reader

The U.S. Supreme Court

Since our nation's birth, the Supreme Court has been the highest court in the United States. But until 1935, it didn't have a building of its own. Join a lawyer named Marta in The U.S. Supreme Court as she follows the court's long journey to its final home in Washington, D.C.

Reading LevelGrades 1-2
Interest LevelGrades 1-3
Lexile LevelIG750L
ATOS Level4.7
AR Points0.5
AR Quiz #123628
PublisherPicture Window Books
Page Dimensions9" x 11"
Page Count24
BindingReinforced Library Binding
List Price: $29.32 School/Library Price

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"Product Rating: 4 Stars Pros: Great illustrations, solid (if simple) content, an often overlooked subject with young students. Cons: The "Marta the Lawyer" framing device... The Bottom Line: There are a lot of picture books about government out there--this is one of the better ones. As a social studies teacher, one of the most tedious parts of my job is teaching kids about the government. They get hit with the "three branches of government" lecture every year from the cradle to the grave, and of those three branches, the one that usually seems least interesting and least powerful is the judicial branch. The Supreme Court's role has waxed and waned over the years, and it's only when it's in the headlines that we really consider how powerful those nine justices are. These issues and more come up in Anastasia Suen's 2009 picture book, The U.S. Supreme Court. This nicely illustrated, colorful book takes a dry topic and livens it up a little, and is part of the American Symbols series by Picture Window Books. The book outlines the history and purpose of the Supreme Court, and does so in language that elementary school students can understand. With assistance and explanation, second and third graders would be able to read and understand this book. The narrative is basically a chronology of the Supreme Court, following the government and Court from New York to Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.. Half of the book's 24 pages are devoted to the Supreme Court Building, which I suppose is fitting for an "American Symbols" book. It never explains why the Court didn't get its own building until the 20th Century, but does explain that it took Chief Justice (and ex-president) William Howard Taft to get the building built. We're introduced to architect Cass Gilbert, who also designed the Woolworth Building and three state capitols. I was hoping there would be more about the symbolism in the building, even about the statues on either side of the building's columns, but Suen doesn't explain any of the symbols. For a picture book, The U.S. Supreme Court is rich with information. Each page has a sidebar with statistics or details that tells a little more about the Supreme Court or the building, things like, "About 8,000 cases are submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court each year. Only about 100 to 150 are heard." or "After the British set fire to the U.S. Capitol during the War of 1812, the Supreme Court met in a private house for a short time." It makes the book more interesting and more informative, and even though the sidebar format might be confusing for very young readers, they don't interfere too much with the flow of the rest of the book. The only thing that really seems out of place is that the story is bookended with "Marta," a lawyer who's on her way to the Supreme Court to have her case heard. She appears on page 1, and we don't see her again until page 22. It's an odd way to set up the story--if you're not going to use the character throughout the book, drop her. The framing device just doesn't work, and adds some confusion to the story. The artwork is cartoony and colorful, and illustrator Matthew Skeens' style is a lot of fun. In fact, the mismatch of illustrations to the content is what I like best about the book. There are many other childrens books introducing the Supreme Court to kids, but this one succeeds in being whimsical, and you want to keep reading just to see the pictures that Skeens has whipped up next. The final two pages of The U.S. Supreme Court are packed with information--Supreme Court Facts, a Glossary, More Books to Read, Websites, and an Index all enrich the content of the book even more. This book is too simple for most of the students I teach, but would be appropriate in an elementary school setting. I could use it with some students learning English, and I'll certainly use it with my own sons at home. Civics and government can be difficult to teach--I'll take any tools I" -

August 3, 2009

Picture Book of the Day Blog, Book Links - Anastasia Suen

"The U.S. Supreme Court by Anastasia Suen (Author) and Matthew Skeens (Illustrator) begins… My name is Marta. I’m a lawyer. I’ve come to the U.S. Supreme Court to talk about my case. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Its building is a symbol of the country’s highest law. Ideas Mini-lesson Primary/Intermediate: When the court begins work on October, lawyers from all across the nation come to present their cases. Ask students to write about a “case” at school that needs deciding. (Most of my “cases” came after disputes at recess!) What will the case be? Who will be involved? Use the Idea Wheel graphic organizer to brainstorm ideas. ( Organization Mini-lesson Primary/Intermediate: Ask students to begin their case with the “incident” and then move on to other students talking about possible ways the case could be decided. Ask the student writer to act as the “judge” in their story, the one who makes the decision about what needs to be done to resolve the case. The story can end with the judge’s decision or by showing what happened as a result of that decision. -" - Picture Book of the Day Blog, Book Links

October 30, 2008

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database Newsletter - Kris Sauer (Children's Literature)

"Marta, a lawyer with a case before the ultimate court in the United States, takes young readers on a tour detailing the history and the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in our nation's government. Starting with a brief explanation of the U.S. government's unique division of power, Marta goes on to explain the many homes the Supreme Court had during our country's early days. Finally, in 1929, Chief Justice William Howard Taft lobbied Congress for a permanent home for the Supreme Court. Marta explains how Cass Gilbert designed the building and then takes us inside for a brief look before telling young readers how important the work our nine Supreme Court justices is to upholding the U.S. Constitution. Part of the 16-title "American Symbols" series, which won Learning Magazine's 2008 Teachers' Choice Award, the text covers Standard 4 of the National Standards for History: How democratic values came to be, and how they have been exemplified by people, events and symbols. As a good nonfiction book should, this title includes a glossary, set of related facts, an index, an age-appropriate bibliography and a link to content-secure sites on the Internet. Accelerated Reader quizzes are also available on the publisher's website. Understanding the role of the U.S. Supreme Court is perhaps one of the more difficult of American concepts to grasp for young students. This book does a very good job of bringing this somewhat obscure topic down to a very understandable level and does so in an accessible and interesting way." - Children's Literature Comprehensive Database Newsletter

March 1, 2009