Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: Yesterday's Classics

Yesterday's Classics has been publishing classic children's literature for quite some time now, and they still offer all those wonderful paperback editions of old books, updated to have formatting and fonts in formats that are more like what we are used to today.

But they also have ebooks available, in either Kindle or EPub formats, for $2-5 each.  Or you can get the gigantic collection of 225 books as a set.  Normally priced at $149.95, right now (through May 31) it is on special for $99.95.  I was thrilled to see that there are a number of titles I've been wanting, or that I have used in the past with my older kids (and am planning to reread with the younger ones).

This collection includes a huge variety of books.  HUGE variety.  This may be the biggest "con" of this set.  An intimidating number of books and it is confusing as to where to start.

So I picked somewhere and dug in.  I have two children (ages 10 and 12) studying medieval history right now.  Taking a close look at one of the handy-dandy documents that comes with this set of books, I find there are eighteen (!) books on the Middle Ages.  Fortunately, the document gives me short descriptions and age recommendations.  So I can easily cross off a few, such as Viking Tales which is meant for 6-9 year olds, realizing that it might not be the best fit right now.  There are another 5 that are intended for 8-10 year olds, and I think I'll skip those as well.  And two that target teens.  So that leaves me with a mere TEN books to peruse.

What I ended up doing with these ten titles was to create a spreadsheet and essentially input their tables of contents.  Some of these books, like Famous Men of the Middle Ages, focus on biography.  I love that for this age range.

Some, like Stories from the Crusades, focus on a specific event (or events) during the Middle Ages.  Or, like Men of Iron, they focus on a specific time period (Henry IV era in England).  Some are more a single biography, such as The Little Duke (about Richard the Fearless, AD 943-996).

We are using this to supplement our Middle Ages study, but really, you could easily take one of the more general history titles, such as Streams of History: The Middle Ages or The Story of the Middle Ages, and make that a spine history text for the year, adding some of the other titles around it.

We are also using some of the Faith category.  Many of those are stories of the history of the church, or stories about various saints.  Specifically, we are using Our Island Saints (we just read about St. Patrick) and Saints and Heroes to the End of the Middle Ages.

We're loving these books.  It is so convenient too, to be able to pull them up on my Nook (have I mentioned how much I love my Nook lately?  Thanks, Mom & Dad!) and read practically anywhere.

But you aren't studying the Middle Ages this year?  Well, the situation is similar for a number of other eras.  Such as:
  • Early Civilizations (5 titles)
  • Ancient Greece (29 titles)
  • Ancient Rome (18 titles)
  • Renaissance and Exploration (9 titles)
  • World History (9 titles)
  • American History (18 titles)
  • British History (9 titles)
In addition to all the historical types of books, there is literature too.  Quite a bit.  Besides the Literature classification, which includes five titles such as The English Literature for Boys and Girls that I plan to have Connor work through, there are also categories for:
  • Shakespeare (2 titles)
  • Fairy Tales (12 titles)
  • Fables (5 titles)
  • Legends (14 titles)
  • Poetry (5 titles)
There are other categories too.  Science, Nature, Christmas Stories, Kindergarten...  seriously, there is something here for everyone.

Don't have an E-Reader?  Not a problem.  The EPub format works with ereader apps that you can use on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc.  You can even download The Dutch Twins for free -- in both Kindle and EPub formats, to see for yourself how these will work with your apps or your device.  Go here, and scroll about 1/4 of the way down.

You can check out what some of my fellow crewmates had to say about Yesterday's Classics at:

Any questions? I'd love to know what you would want to know in deciding whether or not this is something you want to purchase.

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive the ePub books described in this post in exchange for my review of the product.  All opinions are my own, and receiving complimentary products does not factor in to my opinions.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.


Elizabeth Herr said...

Great review Debra! What a joy to have received this product!!


Cristi said...

I wonder how many Yesterday's Classics titles we'll be seeing on your Read Aloud check-ins over the next few weeks and months. :)

Great review!