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Children's Encyclopedia of American History (Smithsonian) (Smithsonian Institution) Hardcover – April, 2003

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool - 12
  • Series: Smithsonian Institution
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: DK CHILDREN; First American Edition, 2003 edition (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789483300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789483300
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Produced in association with the Smithsonian Institution, DK's Children's Encyclopedia of American History by David King is a comprehensive overview lavishly illustrated with period photographs, paintings and drawings of people, objects and events, as well as maps and charts. Separate topics-from "The Constitution" to "Terrorism Strikes Home"-unfold in double-page spreads throughout 18 chronologically organized chapters. An appendix includes a list of the U.S. presidents, a chart of key facts about the 50 states, and the texts of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and its Amendments, plus the Gettysburg Address.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-A visually enticing and textually fascinating survey. Grouped thematically and chronologically (with overlap where necessary), the 18 chapters span the centuries, starting with 1000-1607 ("Two Worlds Meet"-a look at the indigenous cultures and the impacts of European exploration) and concluding with 2000-2002 ("A New Millennium"-September 11, 2001, and beyond). Chapters consist of up to 10 two- to four-page spreads and open with an introduction that offers a few paragraphs of text, a representative graphic, a brief overview, and a time line. A typical spread contains a colored tab indicating the years addressed, maps, captioned photos, sidebars that elaborate on specific events, reproductions of paintings and drawings, definitions, and cross-references. Appendixes include a compendium of presidents; state facts; and the full text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address. Tied more to themes and historical strands than Chronicle of America (DK, 2000), this book is also more approachable and will be especially appealing to students intimidated by text-heavy resources.
Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

So they can pick and choose what to read.
I took history class at school and this book was an excellent source to help me understand the class better.
T. Barnett
Very well written and extremely interesting with great images and information!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 129 people found the following review helpful By M. H Shamp on March 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a conservative Christian looking for the right history book to homeschool my kids. I read this DK Children's Encyclopedia from beginning to end, and I find it acceptable over all in content presentation. Another reviewer here says the book is too liberal, but I disagree; I think Mr. King clearly strives to present an unbiased view of American History. Now everybody has his own view of history, and a history book is bound to reveal somewhat of the author's bias. However, it is obvious that Mr. King kept his own opinions well under control, making this book excellent read for people of every view point.

For example, in presenting the Reagan administration, Mr. King mentioned the tax cuts, shrinking government, and the prosperity ensued. He mentioned that "The number of homeless people grew at an alarming rate" (p.239) without saying what that rate is, but over all, he did say that Reagan was so popular that even some Democrats voted for him (Reagan Democrats), and many middle class Americans consider the Reagan era the best of times.

In contrast, in describing President Clinton, Mr. King said most of his proposals didn't make it through the legislature, but Clinton remained popular because of the economic boom. Then he described Clinton's scandals in detail, leaving me the impression Clinton didn't do much else. A liberal might consider this presentation not giving Clinton enough credit.

In selecting a children's history book, one must consider what is available out there, and this one is the most balanced I find so far. If you want to see something really liberal, check out The Making Of America by Robert D Johnston. It is published by the National Geographic Society, with a forward by first lady Laura Bush; sounds good, doesn't it?
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130 of 149 people found the following review helpful By M. Bovell on March 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a homeschooling mother, and this is my first year teaching my sons American History. As an immigrant, this has been a learning experience for me as well. I bought the Children's Encyclopedia of American History as a pictorial supplement to the excellent curriculum we are using. It took just a few minutes of glancing through this book to become very disappointed with my purchase. There is little or no reference to key African-American figures in American History. The discussion of the Spanish exploration of the South and West mentions every member of the party except Estebanico, the Moorish slave who actually led the expedition to what is now California. We are currently learning about George Washington Carver, and were surprised to find not even one sentence dedicated to this man's great contributions. Booker T. Washington is mentioned in one sentence, and shares a brief paragraph with W.E.B. DuBois. The entire Civil Rights movement is summed up in one paragraph. Surprisingly, a significant amount of space is dedicated to a picture of Bill Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky, and a discussion of their relationship. The book is packed and ready to be shipped back to Amazon.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By apoem TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not the be all end all book of American History. It is not an Encyclopedia of American History. This book is a good resource, a beginning, a place to find some information about American History.

This book was not meant to be a text book for home schoolers. It was not meant to be the final authority on American History. If you are using this book as the sole means of getting information about American History; you will be missing out. You need to supplement this book with others that are specific to the time you are learning about.

Other reviewers have noted what they consider to be faults. For example; they have mentioned the lack of in depth information on African Americans. There is a lack of in depth information on African Americans. There is a lack of in depth information on many topics and depending on your interests you might find information you would want in this book missing.

Based on the space available and the age this book was written for (Elementary to middle school ages), this book covered a lot of information very briefly. It covered a few things more completely and a few things less than completely.

Every author who writes a history book has a bias and that bias shows through often times to an extreme degree. I didn't find that this book demonstrated a bias to a large degree. In fact, I believe the author tried very hard to point out positives and negatives of every age and year and president.

That fact that other reviews have touted this book as too liberal or just right or conservative demonstrates that this book probably has hit the middle point between these views. I didn't see this book as very conservative nor as very liberal.

The pictures are gorgeous and there are many many pictures and drawings and sketches. They are all well done.

Well Worth the Money.
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156 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Kate on June 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you are an environmentalist or a liberal of any strain, this book is for your kids. It is not, however, for mine. I was excited to read it because at first glance, it presents an attractive and manageable timeline of American history, complete with helpful appendices including all of the important documents that are no longer priorities in the schools. As Mr. King gets closer to current events his bias becomes more evident and more difficult to stomach. Listing all of the examples here would be impossible, but he neatly boils the Reagan era down to homelessness, the national debt and the failed War on Drugs. President George W. Bush is simply defined by the Florida recount, the "disappearing surplus," and withdrawal from Kyoto. (The War on Terror is mentioned in the "Terrorism" section and President Bush is criticized for creating additional Arab opposition by calling Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, "the Axis of Evil.") I had hoped for a fair and balanced look at American history, and this fell far short of my expectations.
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