Most helpful critical review
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A good reference book, but no fun to read
on February 26, 2010
This book is exactly what it claims to be: a DICTIONARY. It is a huge, giant list of terms and phrases, organized by subject area. The explanations are extremely brief. But, as with all dictionaries, it is absolutely no fun to read. Nobody would ever snuggle up with this book and a hot cup of tea...ever.
Now I hate to penalize a book for being exactly what it set out to be, so I harbor some guilt over my 3-star rating. It's a 5-star dictionary. But the product description didn't really stress the "dictionary" part, so I was actually expecting this to somehow be an all-in-one, abridged version of the Core Knowledge curriculum books. It is not.
If you want a reference book that you can set on your shelf for the times when you'd like to look up an unfamiliar term or phrase, then you should buy this book. And this book would be especially useful, in this way, for recent immigrants and American high-school or middle-school students.
On the other hand, if you want a book you can casually read through to learn something new or interesting...this is not appropriate for that. Hirsch's Core Knowledge curriculum books for PreK-6 are great, and they're fun to read (or at least fun enough). So if you're a parent who is buying something to read with kids, buy those instead. If you're an American adult looking to round out your knowledge, you might try The Intellectual Devotional by Kidder and Oppenheim.