Oregon (The United States), by Julie Murray
What is it that people thought about Oregon fifteen years ago or so, and that they wanted to convey to others? This is the sort of question that this book answers in an implicit way, being the kind of source that one of my classmates would have read and used to complete a report on the state when I was in the 7th grade while I got stuck trying to argue that Mississippi was the best state in the Union (no easy task). At any rate, this book is a short one but it does provide the sort of information that people would want to know about Oregon, though some areas are pretty laughable and indicate that the author did not really know much about the state–particularly not its cities, of which only four are included on the state’s maps, one of which was McMinnville and none of which were outside of the Willamette Valley (so the book misses Bend, Medford, Klamath Falls, Ontario, Astoria, Coos Bay, and many other fine choices for towns and cities in the state. Of course, a book like this is not likely to be read by those who are residents in the state, which is all the funnier as these books provide a great deal of humor for those who know the state well and can ponder what it is that is thought to be appropriate for children to learn about a given area, which is always a fascinating matter when it comes to regional geography.
At only 32 pages this is not a large book at all, and its contents are correspondingly very shallow as far as it comes to dealing with the state of Oregon. A reader to this book is given a snapshot of the state which includes some beautiful views (for more tourism, probably). After that there is a discussion of where Oregon is located within the United States. The author includes some “fun facts” about the state, and also gives some information about a few cities (not too many, though) and its capital of Salem. The author includes some famous citizens, most of whom are famous for some sort of suitably quirky reason, such as appealing for women’s suffrage or the care of environment. There is a look at the landscape of Oregon, the Oregon Trail, and Crater Lake National Park, to give at least a few of the reasons why people would know about the state to begin with. There is a brief discussion of the history of the state as well as a very bare state map. The book then ends with some important words, websites, and an index.