Your five-year-old daughter is watching a squirrel out the kitchen window and she asks you, "Is it true that some squirrels can fly? That they have wings?" (Problem: you'd like to show her a flying squirrel on your CD-ROM encyclopedia, but your son is playing computer games with his friends.) You are watching the world gymnastics championship on TV and the winner is an athelete from Belarus, and you're suddenly curious about that country. (Problem: your expensive multivolume encyclopedia is now long in the tooth, and while it has lots of information on the Soviet Union, it doesn't even mention Belarus). At a dinner party, someone mentions chaos theory and you joke that that's the theory you use to organize your tool box--but you do wish you knew what chaos theory really was. (Problem: your top-of-the-line dictionary mentions chaos theory not at all.) Half the battle to be an intelligent person (and to lead your children in that direction) is to be curious about the world and to ask questions; the other half is knowing where to find the right answers. And one of the best places to find answers is a good home encyclopedia.
Now, with Oxford's Family Encyclopedia, you have the most up-to-date, affordable, convenient, and appealing one-volume encyclopedia on the market--and the first such encyclopedia designed specifically for family use. Here is, first of all, the kind of readable but authoritative reference work for which Oxford is justly acclaimed, offering over 15,000 alphabetically arranged entries that put a world of information at your fingertips. There are numerous biographical entries--well over 3,000 in all--that cover artists, writers, and composers; military, political, and world leaders; religious and business figures; scientists and inventors, and much more. Readers will find concise entries on geographical places--from mountains, rivers, and seas to cities, regions, and nations (each nation entry includes a special box with map, flag, and information on the country's history, economy, geographical makeup, and political system). Science is perhaps the biggest category covered, encompassing physics, astronomy, chemistry, the environment, mathematics, the life sciences--including many entries on animals, plants, and minerals--plus hundreds of entries on technology (inventions, machine parts, and so on). There are literary terms, artistic movements, architectural styles, musical periods. Religion and mythology, medicine and health, sports and entertainment, politics and the law. Virtually any topic you would want information on you will find here.
Moreover, the Encyclopedia is packed with 1,500 color illustrations, far more color pictures than any other one-volume encyclopedia on the market, creating an eye-catching page-layout that stimulates the mind. It is the first such encyclopedia to rival CD-ROM encyclopedias for graphic quality. And these illustrations are not merely decorative. Each features a caption that either explains the picture or provides additional information on the topic. An illustration for geological faults, for instance, not only depicts tear faults, reverse faults, Horst faults, and rift faults, but also explains how each fault is formed. And the illustration accompanying the entry on the fig, far from the typical "diagram of plant parts," illustrates instead the symbiotic relationship the fig tree has with the fig wasp, revealing how the tree and insect need each other to reproduce. This colorful format will appeal especially to children, whether you are using the book to show a kindergartner what a flying squirrel looks like, or whether a middle or high school student uses it to look up information on Belarus. Other one-volume encyclopedias available offer small black-and-white illustrations every second or third page, a format that can be daunting to younger readers, who cringe at page after page of type without relief. The Encyclopedia's appeshow more