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A twenty-volume edition illustrated with maps, pictograms, and photographs in color and black and white. Entries are written on a range of reading levels and are the work of qualified specialists. Every volume is separately indexed with cross references to pertinent information found in the other volumes.
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Written at a young researcher's reading level, The New Book of Knowledge (NBK) presents coverage of a wide range of topics that fulfill the informational and recreational needs of elementary- and middle-school students. Child-friendly page layouts include large font size and numerous illustrative materials. NBK continues to utilize the recognizable snowboarder spine design and does not split letters of the alphabet between volumes (a positive feature for reference sets aimed at students).
In the 2005 edition, the Summer Olympics in Greece, the Boston Red Sox World Series victory, the 2004 presidential election results, new NATO members, terrorist attacks in Russia, and the final recount results in the Washington State gubernatorial race have all been included. Some of these events occurred after the mid-November 2004 revision deadline. The December 26, 2004, tsunami that devastated much of Southeast Asia even receives a brief mention in the Southeast Asia article (although not in Ocean--tsunami, Indonesia, or Thailand). Yasir Arafat's death is noted in Palestine but not in the Arafat, Yasir entry. Among the 34 new entries are Ali, Muhammad; Amundsen, Roald; Dalai Lama; Qaeda, Al; Rice, Condoleeza; Rowling, J. K.; and Sacagawea. NBK continues its coverage of world leaders with new articles on Ruhollah Khomeini and Muammar Al-Qaddafi. The 25 replacement articles include Ancient civilizations, Malaysia, Nurses and nursing, Radiometric dating, Rome, and X-rays. Among the 40 articles that received major revisions are Bible; First ladies; Keller, Helen; Olympic Games; Planets; and Radio. In addition, there are 441 new photos (412 in color), 61 new pieces of color art, and 39 new maps.
NBK includes additional features intended to interest its audience, such as "Wonder Questions" ("Who was Johnny Appleseed?" "What and where is Asia Minor?"), "Literary Selections," "Homework Help," "Profiles" of famous individuals, and "See for Yourself" suggestions. Some 25 new special features were added this year, among them a time line of ancient civilizations as well as additional "Wonder Questions," "Profiles," and "See for Yourself" projects. Each volume still contains its own index on blue pages, and a comprehensive set index volume is included with the set. A separate "Home and School Reading and Study Guide" is a useful supplement and contains bibliographies, study guides, and curriculum-based activities for teachers, librarians, or homeschoolers.
Though obviously not every article can be updated each year, the set would benefit from updated pictures in many entries. For example, in Bicycling, the first photograph shows a family happily pedaling along sans helmets. And a brief mention about Lance Armstrong's achievements in the Tour de France would have been nice to see.
The accessible writing, attractive layout, and organized design enhance the notable features of this set, making it an excellent choice for schools and libraries serving younger students. Shauna Yusko
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Grade 5–8—One of the few multivolume frogs left in the elementary school print-reference pond, this latest annual edition offers full measures of quantity—more than 9000 articles, 25,000 color illustrations, in excess of 1300 maps, nearly a million index entries, a full suite of cross-references and other access tools, plus special features such as passages from classic books or documents and an entire article of science experiments. The set also offers relevance, in that it pays close attention to curriculum needs. Though current enough to include mention of Benazir Bhutto's December 2007 assassination and the Newbery and Caldecott winners from that year, the overall pace of revision is rather slow; the most recent title mentioned in the "Contemporary Film" section of "Motion Pictures," for instance, is Disney's The Lion King (1994), and at least two of the five generic photos that open the "Baseball" article are more than 15 years old. Still, as the layout will be more inviting to less practiced readers than that of The World Book Encyclopedia (2007), and most of the illustrations are not available through the online version, this will be a good choice for smaller collections with an edition more than five years old, or for classrooms with limited Internet access.—John Peters, New York Public Library
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