Each volume focuses on a currently controversial issue and presents “Yes/No” arguments on each of three central questions, reminiscent of Opposing Viewpoints (Greenhaven Press). Each volume’s timeline puts the issue in historical context. Each opinion makes liberal use of quoted testimony, and each article is supported by captioned photographs and additional background material. What is most impressive are the footnotes, bibliography, and list of articles that comprise nearly thirty completely cited sources for each book. Each book’s author has carefully crafted arguments that are both persuasive and constructed with the best persuasive techniques and the most egregious logical fallacies. After each set of paired arguments, one of these fallacies is defined and the reader is invited to examine both arguments for examples. Highly Recommended
Library Media Connection, March/April 2015
This series is targeted to readers interested in how to make passionate and logical arguments and how to analyze them. Each volume introduces a hot-button issue (e.g., smoking bans and mandated healthy school lunches) before using persuasive techniques (e.g., logical fallacy and testimonial) to explore at least two opposing views about the topic. For example, Video Games presents opinions for and against regulating the sale of violent games to children, while Smoking explores the controversy around whether people have a right to smoke.
The photographs, especially in Video Games which includes action scenes from actual games, are interesting and exciting, but a few of the photos in Food in Schools might lead one to conclude that racially diverse children are the only consumers of free lunch. The books conclude with advice on how to incorporate persuasive techniques in a piece written by the reader. The writing section is helpful, but essay writing is presented as a formulaic process with steps, rather than as a dynamic, recursive one. This series is a great resource for students interested in details about some of today’s most talked-about social issues that impact youth.
VOYA, December 2014
This dual-purpose entry in the Matters of Opinion series examines some controversial aspects of the national school-lunch program as case studies in analyzing information with a view toward producing a standard five-paragraph personal-opinion essay. The three central chapters present pro and con arguments for letting students eat what they want, for having student diets under federal control, and for placing the onus on schools to be responsible for their students’ weight. Each chapter closes with an analysis of the differences between the facts and the opinions cited. Step-by-step general instructions for crafting an essay head up a final section, which also includes source notes and a partially annotated resource list. Color photos, mostly of trim and not-so-trim young people, add both visual breaks and silent but cogent commentary to the easy-to-read narrative.
Booklist, October 2014