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The book of the month - February 2018


Perspectives Intermediate
Daniel Barber, Lewis Lansford and Amanda Jeffries National Geographic Learning

Perspectives is a new, four-level series with an innovative approach: every unit explores one idea from different angles. For example, the unit on food includes cooking in schools, Filipino street food and a TED talk on becoming a weekday vegetarian.

This approach works. It encourages students to evaluate new information, develop critical thinking and acquire the necessary confidence to express their own ideas. There are ten units. The language exercises systematically cover grammar, vocabulary and the four language skills, and include exam-style tasks. The range of topics (hiring people, cyborgs, procrastination and effective communication) is impressive. The texts are content-rich and engaging, with appropriately challenging vocabulary. This 162-page coursebook also boasts some truly stunning photographs. Designed for B1 students wishing to progress to B2

Reviews in brief

Practical English Usage Fourth Edition, Michael Swan
Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-420243-5

Most English language teachers have checked tricky grammar points in this well-known book, which is both a usage guide and a learner’s grammar. The key change in this fourth edition is the replacement of the alphabetical organisation by a thematic arrangement. So, grammatical entries are grouped into 28 sections; this topic-by-topic organisation works well. Vocabulary problems are dealt with in a further three sections. Entries contain an explanation of a problem, corpus-informed examples of correct usage and where appropriate, examples of student mistakes. With fascinating entries on newspaper headlines, language change and varieties of English, this comprehensive book remains indispensable.

Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K Jerome, Adaptation and Activities by Gina D. B. Clemen
Black Cat 978-88-530-1646-1

This 96-page graded reader is aimed at B1 students. The adaptation enables language learners to enjoy the humour of the original. The book contains material to support and extend the reading experience: pre-reading tasks, comprehension questions, exam-style activities, and dossiers which provide information on related topics, like the river Thames. After each of the eight chapters, a thought-provoking question (called ‘Think!’) focusses readers on an interesting point. I especially like the audio recording, which helps bring out the gentle humour. Users can listen to this using an app on a Smartphone or tablet. The book is imaginatively illustrated throughout. Engaging.

Reviews by Pete Sharma for Bournemouth English Book Centre: www.bebc.co.uk