A noteworthy review of Welcome to the World from Booklist on October 15, 2007
It is not easy to write a book about Iraq, especially for this age group, and the ‘Welcome to’ designation of the Welcome to the World series adds a certain poignant irony. Stevens decides to go with a just-the-facts style and simple acknowledgments about what is happening in Iraq today. In just a few paragraphs of large typeface, the book covers the military coup of 1958, Saddam’s ascent to power in 1979, the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, and the Iraq War, noting that ‘today the situation in Iraq is full of conflict, violence and uncertainty.’ A small sidebar offers a snippet about Saddam’s capture and execution. These bits of information, set off by a bright red bar, appear every few pages. Among the other topics covered are plants and animals, city and country life, and holidays. The text is concise and clear, and the full-color photos that fill up the horizontal pages are particularly nice. Back matter includes a list of facts, the national song, a recipe, a few Arabic words, a glossary, a short bibliography, and a note directing readers to a Web site for publisher-approved links.