Sunday, February 15, 2009

Semper Popular: United States Marine Corps by Jack David

For the early chapter reader who has a mania for the military, Jack David's United States Marine Corps (Torque: Armed Forces) (Scholastic/Bellwether, 2008) provides a brief but wide overview of this august branch of the armed forces.

Children's Press, now part of Scholastic, is a benchmark for early elementary nonfiction series, and their editors' sure hands are evident in this look at the Semper Fi forces. The special role of the Marines as a partner of the U. S. Navy is defined as the only amphibious force which sees action on land and at sea. One chapter is devoted to "Vehicles, Weapons, and Tools of the Marine Corps," including such familiar equipment as the AH-1 Super Cobra helicopter, AV-8 Harrier II VTO (vertical takeoff) jet fighters, and the AAV-7A1 Amphibious Assault troop carrier. Weapons and equipment, from the mighty howitzer cannons to night-vision goggles and camouflage uniforms, are discussed and shown in ample full-color action photographs.

In "Life in the Marine Corps," Davis describes basic training, "The Crucible," the 54-hour operational mission which qualifies recruits as Marines, and leadership training at the Officer Candidate School and The Basic School. The author points out the importance of education in the requirement for college degrees for Marine officers.

All special terms appear in boldface and are fully defined in the glossary. Backmatter also includes a short bibliography ("At the Library"), a search engine web site ( in the "On the Web" section, and an index.

Other books in the Torque Armed Forces series include United States Air Force (Torque: Armed Forces), United States Navy (Torque: Armed Forces), United States Coast Guard (Torque: Armed Forces), and United States Army (Torque: Armed Forces), all with Accelerated Reader levels in the fourth grade range, easily accessible to early elementary fans of our fighting forces.

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