The Kingfisher First Encyclopedia (Kingfisher Encyclopedias)

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9780753459072: The Kingfisher First Encyclopedia (Kingfisher Encyclopedias)
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This book is packed with exiting information, amazing facts, and colorful pictures...

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About the Author:

Kingfisher is an award-winning publisher of non-fiction and fiction for children of all ages. Known around the world for its informative and engaging reference and early learning books, Kingfisher also receives widespread acclaim for its classic anthologies for five- to fourteen-year-olds and original picture books for very young children.

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Small children ask how and why questions often best answered by an encyclopedia. Reference works for the preschool through second-grade age group must be clearly phrased, simply presented, and highly pictorial. The Kingfisher First Encyclopedia, the objective of which is to be an accessible and authoritative source "for children who are ready to begin using . . . reference books on their own," succeeds fairly well on all counts. The single volume covers 90 alphabetically listed broad topics. Larger topics (for example, the human body, the earth, weather) have two to four pages devoted to them, while topics such as writing, cars, and camouflage are covered in a page. The short articles are an interesting blend of simple sentences and more complex vocabulary. Unusual words are given an in-text definition, but many words would require adult explanation. Coverage is limited to basic facts on subjects that would be likely to appear in primary-grade curricula. There are some small errors. The entry Books indicates that the size and format of a book is selected by a "team," and then an author writes it--surely not true in all cases. The only indication of the British origin of the book is the use of the word wagon for railroad cars. By and large, noncontroversial subjects are presented in a clear, uniform style. The work is highly pictorial. Clearly printed on heavy paper, the volume is reminiscent of the Eyewitness books for the clarity of its photos and artwork as well as its visual appeal. Children will find this an attractive browsing book, with captions that explain the illustrations adequately. Gender and ethnic representation are both excellent, as is the system for indicating cross-references--at the end of each entry, a "Find Out More" box in the lower right-hand corner lists related topics. The index is accurate, though it indexes text only. A brief glossary gives definitions of 27 words, the selection of which seems a bit arbitrary. The large book lies flat when open. However, the binding is poor, and unless rebound, the book would not stand up to repeated use. Similar in approach to the Dorling Kindersley Children's Illustrated Encyclopedia (Random, 1991), The Kingfisher First Encyclopedia is narrower in scope (one-fifth the number of entries) and more approachable for the just-ready-for-reference-books age.

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