When we decided to homeschool our youngest son Gabriel,  I tweeted a few of the major publishers to ask which books they might recommend for a homeschool library.
I was contacted by Dorling Kindersley who suggested a copy of their latest edition of “My First Encyclopaedia,” and they very generously sent us a copy to start off Gabe’s school Library.
I must admit that I have a tendency to purchase books that are a little above our children’s current levels, in the hope that they will get pleasure from the books for longer and as such I would have bought  the “New Children’s Encyclopedia” which has a recommended age range of 6 -9 years. So how pleased am I that DK chose for me and sent “My First Encyclopaedia” for 5-8-year-olds? I’ll tell you how pleased I am – incredibly!

Perfect for prompting discussions

From the moment I opened the package Gabe has adored this book. We had to stop what we had been doing and sit down to look through it together straight away. One of the many things I like about the book is that along with the usual categories you would expect to find in an encyclopaedia – such as Living Planet  & Transportation – are complemented by a section called Everyday Life, which includes pages on family trees, Houses & Homes, Jobs and Towns & Cities.This article prompted discussions on different places of worship, and how various religions are observed,  the various kinds of homes people live in around the world and the jobs that people do.

Fabulous images and fun things to try

The visuals in this book are incredible. Along with the beautiful photographs there are many lovely illustrations interspersed with pieces of text, “Did You Know?” circles and the occasional item to try you. On the “Being a Scientist” pages there is a simple but very effective experiment to show how a flower collects food & water from the soil and sucks it up into its stem. When we tried this ourselves Gabe’s face lit up to see the flower change from white to pink, and he couldn’t wait to show the rest of the family both the flower and the book.


Ongoing interest

In the two weeks that we have had the book, not a day has gone by that Gabe hasn’t wanted to look at his encyclopaedia. If nobody is available to sit and read it with him for any reason, then he gets himself settled on the chair and looks through it himself. His speech is very limited, but this book has prompted new words for him. Maybe not everyone would understand that the sound he made today was “Tornado,” but I recognised it. He showed me the storm illustration in the book, pointed to the picture of the tornado and then put the book down and spun around and around to illustrate how it worked!
All in all – I love this book. The information is written in a clear and informative way, pitched perfectly to the 5-8 age group. We found that Gabe and his younger sister both enjoyed looking through the encyclopaedia alone and with us. It was simple for them to understand but prompted questions and interesting conversations. Once Gabe had read through the book he was able to turn to specific sections and look for information. When we were learning about space, he went and got the encyclopaedia, turned to the relevant page and used it to put the planets we had made in the correct order.
I can see our homeschool library consisting of a vast number of Dorling Kindersley books. Looking through their website (http://cn.dk.com/ ) we started to list some of the books we might like – but there were so many we had to stop. Along with the extensive range of children’s books, there are many diverse adult books to choose from; Canadian Gardeners Guide, The Complete Fishing Manual, Your Premature Baby, Star Trek the Visual Dictionary – the list goes on & on!
So no matter what you are interested in and what age group you are buying for Dorling Kindersley has the book for you.


  1. This is an upgrade from the encyclopedias I grew up with! I like that they tailored it for a specific age group.