Britannica Student Encyclopedia

| March 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

Authors: Barbara Blom, Jomarié Dick, Susan Samuel-van Rooyen, Irma van der Vyver, Leon van der Vyver, Louise Vorster, Nonna Weidemann
Published by: Encyclopedia Britannica and Jacklin
Enterprises South Africa
ISBN: 987-1-4150-2048-7
Reviewed by: Fiona de Villiers

As children, my sister and I were given a set of Encyclopedia Britannica reference books. Totalling about 20, they sit on my shelves still, as handsome as ever, with their bold red spines and gold lettering. In those pre-internet days, we considered ourselves most fortunate to have access to such a wealth of information. Now, Britannica has released its updated ‘Junior’ series, also called Britannica Student Encyclopedia and Encyclopedias for Southern Africa, which ranges from ‘Aardvark’ in volume one to ‘Zwelithini’ in volume nine (a special volume is reserved for the index).

What a pleasure it is to pore through volume one, an impressive tome. It’s prefaced by a useful ‘how to use’ guide that gives clear indication of the expertise and dedication of the Britannica team. Each subject is illustrated, most have a ‘more to explore’ or ‘did you know?’ and ‘fast facts’ additions. Colour coding and timelines will help young researchers to find information about continents, countries, provinces and famous people. At the start of each letter of the alphabet, some interesting words are highlighted to whet the appetite. For ‘A’, for example, one is tempted to turn to ‘Acropolis’, ‘Africa’, ‘Airships’, ‘Alchemists’, ‘Almonds’ and ‘Armour’.

Delving more deeply, I read all about Louisa May Alcott of Little Women literary fame, the Aleut people of Alaska (also known as the Unanax) and Alexander the Great. Before learning all about the Byzantine Empire, the last entry in volume one, one can prepare for a round of Trivial Pursuit by brushing up your knowledge of Robert Broom, Brunei or Buenos Aires (did you know its port is the largest in South America?)

Historians may frown at the simplistic nature of some of the information offered – under ‘British Settlers’, for example, authors Blom, Dick et al say: “A group of settlers sailed to Port Natal… they had King Shaka’s permission to live there” – Britannica Student Encyclopedia retains its status as the ‘go to’ reference book in the internet age and provides teachers with a way-in to educate their students about how to do proper research.

 

Category: Autumn 2014, Book Reviews

About the Author ()

News posts added for Independent Education by Global Latitude DMA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *