Review of Children’s Encyclopedia of American History

The book Children’s Encyclopedia of American History by David King (pp. 320) provides a rich explanation of the the background and shaping of America.

The Summary
This text covers American history from the 11th century all the way until the beginning of the 21st century. Over this 1,000 years of American history the text goes from  explaining the discovery of the new world, to the turbulent times of colonial America, the wars of the 18th and 19th century, all the way to dealing with terrorism.

All of the classic famous names of American history such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John F Kennedy, and even Barrack Obama.

The Good

The text offers a rich array of authentic photos and artifacts as images in the book. Almost no detail was left undone. Pictures of buildings, famous people, and even toys of different eras are provided. There are paintings of gold  miners, maps, Indians, athletes, etc. There is even commentary on the accuracy of some of the paintings. For example, one painting shows George Washington standing in a book. The author points out that this would be dangerous as the boat might tip over. In  addition, the artist of the painted the wrong boat and the US flag was in the painting but did not exist at the time in history that the painting was depicting.

There are also lots of maps throughout the book describing America at different times in history. There are also maps of other countries when other countries interact with the US. For example, there is a map of Korea when it was divided when the book discusses the Korean War.

The book also addresses major changes in technology, influential people in such fields as arts and entertainment. Consistent with an encyclopedia, this book has a little of everything.

The Bad

There is little to disparage about this book. It is highly visually appealing for young readers. Even adults would found the text interesting especially if they do not have a strong background in history. If a criticism had to be made it might be that the book is more focus on visuals and lacks substantive text. However, this is not much of a criticism as the book is geared towards children and focus more on pictures than text.

The Recommendation

For the history teacher, this is a great text to have to augment other studies in history. The book is fairly large and could possible be used to teach a medium size group of children. The picture in the text make history come alive and remove some of the abstract nature to learning about the past.

The was even built well as it is a hard cover text that should be able to survive years of stress from the joys of children. As such, this book is highly recommended

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