Wednesday, May 4, 2011
TOS Review: Yesterday's Classics
Yesterday's Classics specializes in children's books written during what some authors have dubbed "The Golden Age of Children's Literature," roughly 1880-1920. They currently offer 225 children's books that have been reprinted in high-quality paperbacks. Perhaps more exciting is the fact that they offer these books in digital form as well. The digital files can be read on your home computer or loaded onto a portable e-reader (Nook, Kindle, or other brands).
I have to start by saying that I'm very impressed with the quality of these books -- both the books themselves and the digital files. I've sometimes loaded digital books onto my nook and found that I can't easily read them. These books are properly formatted so that I can change the size of the font without disturbing the line and page breaks. They also include clickable links from the table of contents and full chapter listings so that I can easily jump to the section of the book that I want.
You can see a complete listing of the titles here. As you look through them, you'll find lots of books that would be ideal for using a literature-based approach to history. There are many stories about ancient Rome, Greece, Medieval Times, and early American History. I'm particularly draw to titles such as 50 Famous People or Four Great Americans. These are the types of stories that I could use to supplement our regular history curriculum or ones that I could just use to give us a little something meaningful to discuss when we're stuck somewhere with too much time on our hands.Obviously, though, since all of the Yesterday's Classics books were originally published prior to 1920, there aren't any materials for 20th Century history.
In addition to the history materials, I found several books that would be suitable for reading aloud to a younger child. Some of the ones that jumped out at me include: Poems Every Child Should Know, Andrew Lang's The Blue Fairy Book, Burgess Animal Book for Children, and a collection of early readers.
Each of the digital books is available to purchase separately; prices range from $1.99 to $6.99. I didn't do an official count, but it looks like the majority of them are only $1.99 or $2.99. An even better deal is Yesterday's Classics Ebook Package. All 225 digital books are bundled together and affordably priced. Normally, this collection costs $149.95 (already a huge savings over buying them individually), but they are offering an even bigger discount until May 31st. You can either go to Yesterday's Classics website or click on the offer below to take advantage of the special deal -- only $99.95 for the entire collection.
So what do I think? Do I think every homeschool parent should rush out and buy the complete collection? I don't know. For our family, it might not be money well spent. We aren't really in need of more books in our house. Even though many of these classics would be good additions to our history study, we don't always even read the books that are already scheduled in our curriculum. In terms of pleasure reading, my children tend to prefer picking out their own selections at the library than reading something that I suggest. My big fear is that these wonderful books would be easily forgotten after having them on my Nook for a while. I've know that I've forgotten about some of the other digital products that I've purchased over the past few years. It's a great deal, but only if we use it.
On the other hand, the books are wonderful. Addison is currently reading Just So Stories for a school assignment and really loves it. I love having the option to pull my Nook out of my purse and read something worthwhile to my kids when we get stuck somewhere longer than I expected. Lauren could listen to Fairy Tales and poetry. The big kids could read short stories about famous people in history, Greek Myths, and more. I do think very highly of these books, and it is a fabulous deal for parents that will use them with their children.
If you'd like to read what other homeschool families thought about Yesterday's Classics, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.