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Reviewed by School Library Journal, September 1st, 2011.
This production introduces the roles and responsibilities of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the government. In the discussion of the legislative branch, the narrator discusses the composition of the House and Senate, qualifications to run for office, leadership structure, and the functions of each. The executive branch segment addresses the requirements to run for office, the duties of the President and Vice President, and the composition of the President’s Cabinet. The judicial branch, covered in four minutes, focuses on the structure of the Supreme Court, the nomination process, and their role in interpreting the Constitution; the lower courts are mentioned only briefly. The production ends on a patriotic note with images of fireworks and a waving flag. Throughout, still photos and video clips of politicians, rallies, and the voting process play while the narrator speaks. Politically savvy viewers will recognize Nancy Pelosi, Dick Cheney, and Gerald Ford. Captions identifying the subjects would have been helpful. Although the presentation is dry, it does provide a solid introduction to the structure and function of the federal government for history, civics, and constitutional law classes. –Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA