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Spreading the word

TAKING ACTION. By Louise Spilsbury. National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to ChildrenWorld Wildlife. FundFriends of the EarthSave the ChildrenBritish Red Cross. Heinemann Libary pound;9.99 each (also in big book format and guided reading packs).

Children have a keen interest in the future and a highly developed sense of fair play, and so are targeted by charities as a source of funds and influence. This series looks at those "committed to a better future for the Earth and its inhabitants".

The books have a common format. "What's the problem?" sets out why each charity exists. A brief history then details how it has developed and what it does. "A day in the life" of key workers illustrates work at the sharp end. "Fact bars", a glossary and a basic index are included. Despite he series' title, only Friends of the Earth and World Wildlife Fund have a "What you can do" section.

The photographs in World Wildlife Fund show exotic locations and rare beasts, but those in National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, showing people on the phone or in meetings, underline the problems of making charitable campaigns eye-catching. Minor quibbles include some factopinion blurring in Friends of the Earth (implying a causal link between air pollution and asthma, which does not tie in with the latest research findings).

The national curriculum for personal, social and health education is well served by this series, which would be a valuable addition to school libraries.

Kevin Harcombe is head of Redlands primary school, Fareham, Hampshire

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