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4.8 out of 5 stars
DK First Encyclopedia
Format: HardcoverChange
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
'Mum, can you help me?' The voice at the end of the phone sounded desperate. What on earth can I do hundreds of miles away in the UK? Cautiously I said of course, if I can.
In the back ground I could hear five year old Thomas, 'Mom, why does the tiger have stripes?' My daughter sighed. 'I wish you were here then you could answer the constant stream of questions, honestly Mum, he drives me mad. All the time he wants to know stuff.'
Thomas had started 'real' school a few weeks ago and had learned to read really fast. An intelligent and curious boy, I knew it was important to feed his curiosity. Being mother to eight children, all very clever, does have its advantages and being a teacher also helps too.
The answer was simple, a children's encyclopedia. I had no idea what to look for but looking through Amazon's booklists, the DK First Encyclopedia seemed perfect. Lots of bright pictures, simple but detailed information.
A little while later my daughter called again.
'Mum the book is brilliant he doesn't need to ask so many questions about everything now.'
Detecting a note of 'but' in her voice, I questioned her.
'Mom, what does this word say?'
'See, he still asks questions, but at least we have the perfect book to look at to find the answers together, thanks Mum.'
I couldn't help laughing, Thomas wanted to run before he could walk. I'd hoped the pictures would do it but no, he wants to read it too. Still at least the questions were simpler to answer now. I know Thomas will soon be reading fluently but I am certain there will be a lot more questions yet for a busy working Mom to answer. Christopher is three, nearly time for him to start asking too, maybe Thomas will tell him. I recommend all children are treated to this encyclopeadia. It is brilliant!
A smiling Grandma in the UK.DK First Encyclopedia
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I read this book to my daughter when she was 7, before she could really read herself. More accurately, we went through this book together, looking at the many excellent photos as I explained the diverse range of topics in some depth, thus going well beyond the actual text in the book. I think that's the best use of the book, although children reading it on their own should still enjoy it and benefit from it.

I did spot a few minor errors in the book, which I was able to correct, and I used these errors to demonstrate to my daughter that one shouldn't automatically believe everything written in books. Nevertheless, I can still recommend this book for children about 4 to 8 years old, especially since there aren't many competing books which cover this range of topics at this level with photos of this quality.

We've now moved on to One Million Things: A Visual Encyclopedia, also published DK, which likewise has excellent photos but is a much larger and more detailed children's encyclopedia. So far, it's looking very promising.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2008
Perfect balance of illustrations and facts. The best encyclopedia for young kids I've found.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2014
The book is poorly organized - it doesn't flow well. I can't put my finger on it, the author has a great concept but this book is not easy to use, not easy to read, not easy to use as a teaching tool for my kids. My boys are young so they benefit from flipping thru and looking at the pics . . . but as they get older it won't be the reference book that we had hoped for. It's like a scrap book that was thrown together years after 'the scraps were collected' rather than in a logicall sequence
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2008
I got this book to keep by the toilet (we are potty training). It was a smart move because this book keeps him totally mesmerized and makes him relax. It never gets old because there is so much information in this book for a young mind. It is not cluttered, but seems to be laid out with a child in mind. He particularity likes the castle and knight page. I'm considering getting the other books in this series too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
DK is a master at laying out information in appealing yet digestible chunks for children.

For example, opening the book up at random, "Rivers and Lakes" begins with this introductory paragraph "Many rivers start as a stream or spring, high up on a moutainside. As the water flows downhil, other streams flow into it to make a river."

Then there are other paragraphs, each illustrated with 1-4 photographs, with the following headings: Waterfalls, Stages of a river, River transportation, River life, Lakes, Salty lakes, Largest Lakes, Lake Life -- all on a two page spread!

My kids loved to look through this book when they were younger. Sometimes we would go through a few pages as our "bedtime story."

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2010
My son just turned 4 this month and hasn't quite started reading big words yet. That being said, I am so glad I got this book. It has great pictures which he loves flipping and constantly asks questions. I read about 2-3 pages every night before going to bed and am amazed how much he has already registered and retained in the last 20 days or so. He has also started using some of the concepts like "force, pressure etc." from Physics that I taught him. He uses them in a sentence and applies the concept. Overall very happy with the purchase and I definitely recommend it for kids 3.5+ even if they can't read yet.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2009
This is one of my 4 yr old's most favorite books right now. It is also a book that we like to read to the kid.

If you, like us, hear a lot of 'Why' , 'What' , 'How' from your kids, you will enjoy owning/reading this book.

Padma
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2013
I just got this book for my 6 years old, and we both love it. the choice of the pictures is great and goes really well with the text which make it easy to understand and imagine all the facts with out being bored or confused. Another thing I liked is that the pages alternate on different topics, it is not sections. So you got the first page talking about Earth, then the following is about science and technology, then living world, then history of people...and so on.

The content shows each section and all the pages number discussing that topic through the book. I know some people might not like this layout, but for me it was perfect as my son is really into animals so he would jump into the animal section and read it all then loses interest in the rest of the book. But now, he reads all the pages and every couple of pages he get a page about animals to keep him wanting to read more.

As I said we just got it, and we didn't read a whole lot yet, but I think it would not disappoint us.
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A typical encyclopedia addresses topics in alphabetical order, and a bit more thoroughly, which this does not do at all. Rather, it addresses topics in a seemingly random order, providing more of an overview peppered with interesting facts and ideas. That's what makes it such a great conversation starter. I used this as a summer learning tool with my five-year-old who's now starting first grade. It took him all the way up to the first day of school, so every day he had some new curiosity to explore. We did a two-page spread per day, sometimes reading four pages if they happened to be in the same subject area. The subjects included are:

World Regions (including one large world map near the back of the book)
People and Society (including pop music and the six major religions)
History of People (introduced the concept of cave people and the theory of cultural progression, which was a great conversation for a Christian family)
Living World (the plant and animal kingdom)
Science and Technology (very interesting introduction to light and color, matter, and many other concepts; led my son to an interest in mechanical engineering)
Planet Earth (introduces geography and geology, including awareness of scientists who study them)
Space and the Universe (impressive pictures of planets; we particularly liked the volcano on Mars and space probes/robots)

As a summer overview, this was perfect. There were a few "get messy" activities highlighted now and then, but not so many to be overwhelming. If we were to use this formally again, I'd make better use of the "Website addresses" pages in the very back. I didn't really notice them until part way through the book and then wasn't sure how to use them. Looking at them now, I can see how they would have complemented specific pages of the book. I would have liked this to be a truly internet-linked resource by listing those sites directly on the pages to which they correlate. As it is, you have to go looking in the back to see if they've provided a site for further exploration on any given topic. I've given the book five stars anyway because this is just my personal preference, and if I'd looked more thoroughly through the book before starting, this would be a non-issue.

Even though we've now read through the entire book, I know this is something we'll pick up again, maybe even as a summer study again but with more science projects and internet exploration. It's clear that children can get more out of this as they mature, and I think my son will find the subjects even more fascinating after he's encountered them a little through other studies.
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