Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yesterdays Classics NEW TOS Review

Yesterday's Classics

Yesterday's Classics
PO Box 3418
Chapel Hill, NC 27515

9 AM to 5 PM EST Monday through Friday

Yesterday's Classics books are available in an electronic format of EPub or Kindle files.  The collection includes 225 titles.

Special Offer: Now thru May 31st this electronic collection is available for $99.95. 
Find more information here.
Regular Price is $149.95

The same books are also available in paperback format from the Yesterday's Classics Website. Prices for these editions range from $7.95- $19.95.


When you hear of classic books you may think of gems enjoyed in the past and now only available to collectors, people with connections or deep pockets.  Maybe you would like to share older editions with your students but aren't sure where to find them.  Now Yesterday's Classics makes Classic literature more accessible to more people. Now it is possible to have a large number of books as close as your computer or ereader, eliminating the need for a trip to the library or waiting for a package to arrive.

You may be asking what are classic books?  One of the definitions Webster's College Dictionary offers for classic is something 'of enduring interest, quality, or style'.  These books expose readers to different styles of vocabulary and grammar than what is found in current literature and may offer a glimpse into life around 100 years ago as well. They certainly offer a wide variety of literature for all interests.

Yesterdays Classics republishes children's books with original publication dates from 1880-1920. They have put their reprints togeher into an electronic collection for e readers as well as offering individual paper back titles. The titles they have reprinted offer something for just about every interest and age.

Topics include:
  • Ancient World History (Egypt, Greece, Rome as well as the Middle Ages)
  • American History
  • Literature and Poetry (both long and short stories, and verse)
  • Science (all branches)
  • Faith
  • Nature
  • Holiday Stories
  • Fables and Fairy Tales
  • Readers
All of the books are indexed in several ways to allow for quick location of a specific topic or title.  Indexes are by author, subject, and title. In each index there is a sample for each of the books available by the picture of the cover. Each book has been assigned an approximate age/grade level based on subject and difficulty of reading. It is also acknowledged that these are just guidelines, the user should feel free to use whatever books are most appropriate. Indexes are received with the purchase of the collection of EPub or Kindle files.

Many of the books available from Yesterday's Classics fit in curriculum plans such as Ambleside Online, Living Books Curriculum, and Pageant of History. Yesterday's Classics website shows when many of the books fit into each of these plans.

How we used Yesterday's Classics e-books

I received the EPub version of the book collection, downloaded them onto my desktop computer and read them using a plug in with my Firefox web browser.

We read:
  • The Story Book of Science
  • The Wonder Book of Chemistry
  • The Secret of Everyday Things
  • A Child's Own Book of Verse
  • The Dutch Twins
  • Second Reader

The first 5 I have read out loud.   My children have both really enjoyed hearing them.  It has definitely been interesting to see the different word usage patterns and sentence structure than we normally use.  These books have also expanded their vocabularies. While they have not used dictionaries, I have often had to stop and explain definitions.

The Story Book of Science is quite a fascinating volume.  Among the many topics discussed are many different animals, natural events, weather, astronomy, and plants. While the information is interesting and written in a engaging manner, some of it is outdated due to advances in scientific knowledge. It is a very good resource for learning about how scientists thought things worked in the past and to compare it with current ideas.

We read  the introduction and first chapter from The Wonder Book of Chemistry.  This was rather difficult to get into. We have been studying the elements, but it was much more complex than I had anticipated.

The Secret of Everyday Things is very interesting.  We thoroughly enjoyed reading about things like chocolate, spices, salt, thread, needles, and states of matter.  There are also chapters about weather, food, and forces of nature.  The states of matter was interesting as we are finishing up a study of matter. elements, and the Periodic Table.  That chapter offered an uncomplicated explanation of the states of matter which was a handy review.  Regarding the other items, it is interesting to learn about things we often may take for granted.  Anytime I can read about chocolate and consider it school that's great!

The Secret of Everyday Things also has some marvelous diagrams.  The first which come to mind are the spinning jenny and spinning wheel.  They are labeled with letters for what I assume would be a description key, but I could not find such.  The pictures are simple and detailed, but it would have been fun to see what the parts are called.  There were also drawings of the cacao plant and other spices.  These were helpful to have as the text describes the plant and its fruit in great detail. 

A Child's Own Book Of Verse (3 separate volumes) are collections of poems and short verses for children.  Several of the poems I recognize from books of my childhood.  The collections include poems like Wee Wille Winkie,  What Can I give Him?,Thanksgiving Day- better know as Over the River and Through the Woods, The Owl and The Pussy Cat, America, Columbia Gem of the Ocean, the complete text of The Star Spangled Banner, and The Pied Piper. Many of the verses have charming little black and white illustrations with them. Here again there are some terms which are not used in the same way we use them today and require a little explanation.  I don't think this is a bad thing, but something to be aware of.

The Dutch Twins is a charming story about a little Dutch boy and girl who are twins.  Their given names are longer than they are tall so they are given short nicknames until they grow into their names. They get into scrapes and situations, but in the end their parents and grandparents are able to help them out and the children learn a lesson about their actions and they will be loved no matter what.  This book also contains cute illustrations of the twins and their adventures.  We all really loved this story.  I can't wait to read the other books by the same author which feature twins from three other countries. My mom read this story (and other Twins stories) as a child and was happy to hear that we were able read and enjoy it also.

My 7 year old has been reading from the Second Reader and enjoying it.  He would have finished it by now, but it is slow going as he is not used to reading from the computer and the type is smaller than what he is used to for the computer. He said  "This is a neat storybook, it has a lot of cool things to read."  He was very excited to see the text to Sleep Baby Sleep as he learned some of it in a previously reviewed music education program.  He said "I knew there had to be more words than what was in the song, and now I know them."

The Second Reader also  contains the story of Hansel and Gretel in play form.  I was interested to see how this version compares with more modern versions, but he wouldn't read it as it was a play and we didn't have four people to do it as a play.   

Additionally there is an abundance of Ancient and World History Titles in this collection.  I have not read through all of these titles or a whole book of any of them, but sections and I have no doubt they will be a valuable addition to our Ancient History studies.  My son, who is 7, is already fascinated with Ancient Egypt and Rome and I know he will be clamoring to hear all the stories.

In our reading and my perusing through several titles I frequently came across the label 'savages'.  I have not been able to find specific, original, copyright dates for several of these books so I am not sure if they are referring to American Indians or another group.  While this does not particularly bother me and it is something I have discussed with my children, I realize some people may not care for this label, so I felt I should point it out to my readers.

I can honestly say these books provide much information and interesting perspectives of the past and are a valuable resource to students of history and those who wish to read publications reflective of days gone past. It is a collection we have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy for a long time to come.

See what other TOS Crew members have to say here.


Disclaimer:  I received a free electronic download of the product in exchange for this review.  All opinions expressed here are solely my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment