Ency. for the kid
November 3, 2008 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Multi-volume kids encyclopedia recommendations for a bright but not overly-precocious 6 year old.

I believe my son would really love a good multi-volume childrens encyclopedia for Christmas, but I am having a difficult time getting a bead on which ones are best or even what is actually still available in print format. He's a fairly proficient reader who really likes charts and graphs and just about any sort of colorful infographic, so recommending well- illustrated sets would be a bonus.

What recommendations do you have? Also, if you have found any which did not meet your expectations, please let me know which ones and why.
posted by Chrischris to Shopping (10 answers total)
Best answer: When I was a kid I had a Childcraft encyclopaedia set. I remember really enjoying it up till around 10 yrs old, and even then I'd still read it just for kicks. It was well-illustrated and full of interesting facts, sometimes presented in story form. I don't remember many details but I do remember really liking it, so you may want to look into that.
posted by Xianny at 10:22 PM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

2nd the Childcraft. I actually still have the one from my childhood set that featured fiction from around the world. I still look at it occasionally, and I'm 40.
posted by thebrokedown at 11:00 PM on November 3, 2008

I had World Book when I was a kid. It's not child oriented (as say Childcraft) but I loved it.
posted by PenDevil at 11:00 PM on November 3, 2008

You can't go wrong with Childcraft. It's a World Book product and in a few years, he will love the actual World Book set. Authorized dealers have some pretty nice prices on eBay. Also, there are a lot of buyers remorse with encyclopedias and you can find quite a few "still in box" deals (on eBay as well).

BTW, I think it's great that you want the actual sets. Virtual encyclopedias just don't cut it and don't allow for those random discoveries that pulling a volume off the shelf can provide.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 11:26 PM on November 3, 2008

Not an encyclopedia but I would recommend the Dorling Kindersley History of the World. The recommended age is 9-12, but it has lots of pictures, maps, and charts and is great for poking around in. It also has those cut-away drawings of buildings and ships. I know that at least the first edition was very good. It's not very detailed but then the kid can use the World Book Encyclopedias or Wikipedia to look up more information.
posted by Gnatcho at 12:36 AM on November 4, 2008

My parents got me the How It Works encyclopedia at 8 or so; it was definitely not for 8 year olds, but I was reading higher than that level, and liked things that were beyond me.

But six-year-old-me also had an affinity towards the Charlie Brown Encyclopedia set which is relatively hard to find but a great, clever read. More of a supplement to something else, but wonderful nonetheless and fun.
posted by disillusioned at 2:55 AM on November 4, 2008

It's not exactly an encyclopedia, but it sounds like he would love The Way Things Work. (I sure did!)
posted by silentbicycle at 4:36 AM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I would strongly recommend the DK first reference series. You can buy the volumes individually, and maybe start with the DK First Encyclopedia
posted by gudrun at 5:00 AM on November 4, 2008

Recommend Childcraft--my 6 year old loves them. Note: all of mine were acquired for about $1 each at library sales or thrift stores. There are a surprising number of them out there. There's one volume that's a parent's guide that isn't really appropriate IMHO--just so you know. The human body volume has info that may spur talks on reproductive systems--hasn't happened to us yet. From what I've read the subject is presented at an appropriate level and doesn't have anything that I would consider controversial (although some parents may wish to avoid the issue altogether at this age, I understand).
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:06 AM on November 4, 2008

I don't know anything about Childcraft, but I also had the Charlie Brown 'Cyclopeidas as a kid and they were pretty awesome. They're not "encyclopedias" in the traditional sense but very informative.
posted by radioamy at 7:13 PM on November 4, 2008

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