I have recently begun homeschooling my 6th grader, and am using The Well Trained Mind as a curriculum guide. This book was listed as a must-have for a classical education, which is based heavily in literature and history. I must say that when we received the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, it looked very impressive. It is a hefty volume, with colorful pages and a timeline which runs across the top of the pages. However, after only a few weeks of use, my daughter has come to dread the sight of this book whenever it is time for history lessons. It is very dry reading. The one to two-page spreads for each topic/culture/era have so little valuable content, that there is little opportunity for the spark of interest to be ignited. They have so condensed the information, that it is mostly a list of dates, names, etc. And there are boxes every couple of pages listing the same dates over again. The text is written chronologically, so each time you turn the page a different culture is discussed, and what they were doing during that time period. This concept sounds better on paper than in practical use. While the time periods overlap somewhat, it does tend to jump around a quite bit. The continuity of what should be exciting and intriguing becomes very choppy and disjointed and as a result frustrating and boring. What might be interesting stuff becomes distracting and in some cases irritating when it interrupts another story. For example, the rise and fall of Rome, while severely abridged, may have still interested my child, if it had not been broken up by seven other topics. Huge chunks of time (several centuries)are condensed into a paragraph, or even a sentence or two. Other chunks go unmentioned. For example, the Qin Dynasty in China lasted less than 20 years, and got the same attention as the Celts, who were around for 500 years. The first 400 years of Christianity are covered in the same amount of space. So I am seeing my daughter becoming confused about the significance of these subjects, and not really grasping the "chronological order", despite adding new information daily to the 8-foot timeline we keep on the wall. Also,I am constantly amazed at what the makers of this book did not see as important enough for further discussion. For example, in our studies so far, The Great Wall of China has been depicted in a 1/4 page illustration, but only the date it was begun and a sentence or two on why it was built is listed. Julius Caesar is mentioned briefly, and simply that he was assasinated(!?), and I have yet to find any mention of Cleopatra. Overall, this book might be a good addition to your library just to have around for kids to leaf through, or as a springboard for other reading. It does mention cultures I never learned about in school (i.e.,the Guptas )but is not very useful as a reference tool, as there really is not any in-depth information on very many things. In it's effort to cover all bases in a single volume, Kingfisher fails to teach children what history really is -- a really great story.