Wednesday, July 4, 2007

America (the Book)

In honor of the Fourth of July, today's recommendation is American history and government the funny way. Jon Stewart and his Daily Show team brilliantly use the format of a fake civics textbook to provide their own humorous take on the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, the media, and the election process. The textbook format allows for charts and graphs that make up some of the book's funniest gags. One of my personal favorites is the voter registration form that asks you to check which shaded box best represents your skin color, your credit card and PIN, and to check whether you're just really doing it for the sticker. (I love the sticker!). Also included are discussion questions (What does bicameral mean? Are any of the girls in your class "bicameral?") and classroom activities (Disenfranchise a black student). Though The Daily Show may have taken a step back recently--I haven't warmed to the new correspondents and miss Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry, and Ed Helms--the book reminds me that when they are on top of their game, they are hard to beat. I also recommend the audio version of this book. Though you miss out on some of the great visual gags, you do get to hear all the words they bleep out of the TV show.

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