I was very excited to learn about this book because I am a new collector of the Landmark books. If you've never heard about or read a Landmark book, then you are definitely missing out on a treasure! These books are a series of non-fiction books for children, grades 4 and up. There are 122 Landmark books covering American History and 63 World Landmarks covering people and events from our past. The books were published from the 1950's until 1970. Some of the titles have been reprinted in paperback format and the series has been revived and new titles have been added to it recently.
In the introduction of World Landmark Books - A Homeschoolers' Guide, Ms. Thiessen explains why Landmarks are so special (the books provide information not commonly found in a textbook) and how to use them in a homeschool setting. The next section details the process of how to find these mostly out-of-print books. She goes into great detail and has included many helpful charts and lists in the back of the guide. She even includes color picture scans of the covers of the World Landmark books so that we can become acquainted with them and, therefore, have a greater chance of finding them by sight! The next section, "Using This Book: Teaching Ideas" explains several methods of enhancing your History studies, such as using timelines and maps, while using the Landmark books.
After all of this basic information is presented, Ms. Theissen then goes into GREAT detail surveying each title in-depth by giving the reader the following information about each World Landmark: Title, author and publication date, time period of the book's subject matter, and synopsis of the book. This is all followed by Ms. Thiessen's personal notes as well a "a bit more" information about the book including project ideas and website listings for extending the study of the book. The rest of the page is left blank for the parent or student to record their own notes about the book.
The next section of the World Landmark Books Guide is called "More About the Authors." Ms. Thiessen gives the following information about each author: Name, years of their birth and death, basic information on books written by that author, and the listing of Landmarks written by that author, both American and World. One exciting note is that Ms. Thiessen is also working on a guide for the American Landmark titles and it is due out sometime in 2006! Following this section are 8 color pages showing the covers of the books, both with and without their dustjackets. Then the incredibly helpful list of charts begins. These include listings of the books in numerical order, chronological order, alphabetical by title, alphabetical by author, and a categorical chart. The Landmarks were published in various editions and the next section, "Edition Information" sorts all of this information out for you so that you know for sure what you are purchasing.
Are you studying a specific person or event in History and want to see if there is a corresponding Landmark available? If so, then you will find the "Main Character and Subject Cross Reference chart on pages 197-201 most helpful! The Guide next contains a Resource listing (where to buy good children's books), an Appendix for Further Reading, an Appendix listing ALL of the titles in the Landmark series and an Internet Resources Appendix listing sites to use to find the Landmark books. The final pages in the Guide include a Bibliography and a VERY handy Price Guide/Checklist chart. Ms. Thiessen has rated the titles for rarity and indicated a reasonable purchase price for each title with or without dustjacket. I think that this is the best part of the entire book!
This guide offered more information than I thought it would include. In my opinion, the best parts of World Landmark Books - A Homeschoolers' Guide are the Price Guide/Checklist in the back and the "A Bit More" section for each book which gives ideas for further study with each book. I believe you get a lot of information for $24.95 and I'm really looking forward to the guide Ms. Thiessen is writing about the 122 American Landmarks. Until then, I'll continue to collect Landmarks and teach History with them by using the helpful information I found in this guide.