I felt that the authors almost felt pressured to include the final two chapters due to changes in the educational community that they don't approve of and that are beyond their control. Namely, the testing craze.
I was glad to hear them question the validity of massive testing. They have a national voice and most teachers would respect their work. I applaud their willingness, therfore, to challenge the insidious influence of political agendas on education.
That said, I found their nonfiction reading activities useful. For those of us who teach research projects, these analytical reading strategies are nifty. I noticed a rich combination of tried-and-true stuff (advertising appeals/logical appeals) and current issues revolving around the Internet, e-mail, etc.
Then, I liked the deeper appreciation of art activities at the end of chapter 9--reminded me of the thinking process we learned at the Weisman.
As I commented in earlier blogs, I like the way Gallagher includes lessons that could be used immediately in the classroom. It's always useful to have a cache of ideas on my desk.