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Knowledge Encyclopedia is a large (10” X 12” and 360 pages) book from DK Publishing that benefits from big, colorful computer generated images, including 3D images. The book, developed with the Smithsonian Institution, provides detailed information for each of its many illustrations. While the publisher recommends the book for ages 8 to 15, I think younger children and adults will also find the book full of fascinating illustrations and facts and I recommend it for age 6 to adults.
The emphasis throughout Knowledge Encyclopedia is on visual learning. Beautifully constructed and detailed illustrations are used to present information and the text is used to fully explain the visual images. The illustrations include photographs, maps, tables and charts, but it is the computer generated images of animals, the human body, planets, habitats and much more that make this book spectacular. The illustrations are fascinating, making the reader anxious to read all the text in order to learn more.
The Organization of the Book
Knowledge Encyclopedia is divided into six major categories: Space, Earth, Nature, Human Body, Science and History. Each of these categories has a number of sections:
The 27-page long Space category has two sections: The Universe and Space Exploration. Some of the topics covered include: The Big Bang, galaxies, the sun, solar system, astronomy, space mission to the moon and exploring the planets.
The Earth category has six sections: Planet Earth, Tectonic Earth, Earth's Resources, Weather, Shaping the Land and Earth's Oceans. Some of the topics covered in the 33-page section include: the Earth's climate, volcanoes and earthquakes, rocks and minerals, hurricanes, the water cycle, caves, glaciers and the ocean floor.
The Nature category has five sections: How Life Began, The Living World, Invertebrates, Vertebrates and Survival Secrets. Among the topics covered in the 59 pages are dinosaurs, how fossils form, plant life, green energy, insects, the life cycle of the butterfly. fish, amphibians, Frog life cycle, reptiles, the crocodile, how birds fly, mammals and the African elephant.
The 49-page Human Body category includes four sections: Body Basics, Fueling the Body, In Control and Life Cycle. Some of the topics covered include: the skeleton, how food moves from the mouth to the stomach, blood, air supply, the nervous system, brainpower, the sense, life in the womb, genes and DNA.
There are four sections in the Science category, which is 55 pages long. Matter, Forces, Energy and Electronics include 24 different topics. Among them are atoms and molecules, the elements, laws of motion, gravity, flight, light, sound, electricity, the digital world and robotics.
The four sections of the History category are The Ancient World, The Medieval World, The Age of Discovery, and The Modern World. The 36 topics covered in the History category's 79 pages include: the first humans, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, The Roman Empire, Viking raiders, religious wars and faiths, the Ottoman Empire, The Silk Road, voyage to the Americas, the Renaissance, Imperial China, the slave trade, The Enlightenment, wars of the 18th-21st Century, The Cold War and the 1960s.
Additional resources include a reference section, a glossary and an index. There is a wealth of information in the reference section, which is 17-pages long. Included are sky maps of the night sky, a map of the world, with information about time zones, continent size and continental populations; flags of countries around the world, an evolutionary tree of life; entertaining charts and statistics on remarkable animals and their feats and a variety of conversion tables, plus wonders, events and people throughout history.
While I recommend Knowledge Encyclopedia for a wide range of ages (6 to adult), I also especially recommend it for reluctant readers, kids who love to collect facts and kids who are visual learners. It's not a book you'll want to read straight through. It's a book you and your kids will want to dip into again and again, sometimes in search of specific information, sometimes to see what you can find that looks interesting. (DK Publishing, 2013. ISBN: 9781465414175)
More Recommended Nonfiction Books
The Scientists in the Field series is excellent. The books include: Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot, Digging for Bird Dinosaurs, The Snake Scientist and The Wildlife Detective. I recommend the series for ages 9 to 14, although I have also found that some younger kids who favor nonfiction enjoy the books as read alouds.
I recommend the following nonfiction books for kids with an interest in weather and natural disasters: Inside Tornadoes, Inside Hurricanes and Tsunamis: Witness to Disaster. For more nonfiction resources, see my directories Tornadoes: Recommended Nonfiction Kids' Books and Tsunamis: Nonfiction Kids' Books.