***See our review of World Book 2004
Pick. Sometimes less is more. World Book 2003 Deluxe is a
fantastic starter electronic encyclopedia for kids just beginning
to do research for school projects. Although it features less
content than many electronic encyclopedias on the market, its
articles are right on target for elementary-age children. Not only
is the reading level appropriate, the program features articles
that students are looking for.
There are two editions of World Book 2003: the Deluxe Edition
and the Ultra Deluxe Edition. The Ultra Deluxe Edition includes
the 2 CD-ROMs from the Deluxe Edition plus 5 more CD-ROMs to
main encyclopedia, contained on two CD-ROMs, opens with the splash
screen pictured above. Children can choose to browse the contents
in a variety of creative ways using the various browse options,
such as Just Looking and Surf the Ages, or select
"Topics" and begin a search for the information they
Pictured at left is the "Monthly Spotlight" feature.
This is a great place to start browsing. If the current month is
February, for example, kids can read about the February birthstone
(amethyst) and choose to read more about this gemstone through the
link to another article. They can read about Valentine's day, or
explore that month's focus (transportation).
kid tester needed to collect information for a project on the Moon
in mythology. The screenshot at right shows an article about the
Moon. Using the toolkit pictured on the upper left side of the
screen, our student was able to highlight the information he
wanted in the article. Kids can also place Sticky Notes in
articles and media. Double-clicking on a word in the article pulls
up a dictionary entry for the word. The built-in dictionary is
great for students because it provides plenty of example sentences
and the pronunciations are presented in a straightforward,
Surf the Ages is a unique feature that presents simulated web
sites as if the web had existed since Ancient times. Very
creative! The Back in Time option presents 80 years of World Book
articles, useful for exploring events described without the
current perspective. Another way to browse is found in Just
Looking which can be totally random or a more customized browsing.
The Atlas is nicely integrated and features a distance calculator.
It isn't as snazzy as the one found in Encarta, however.
We wish the encyclopedia offered help when children don't know
the exact spelling of a word. In Encarta, for example,
alternate spellings appear automatically. But when kids know
exactly what they're looking for, the program doesn't disappoint.
The articles feature nice multimedia, which keeps interest levels
high, and often point users to valuable and related information
This program is ideal for elementary-age children. Older kids
and adults will want (or need) more information, and the best
choice for them will be Encarta (see our review
of Encarta 2003). However, World Book 2003 is
delightfully uncomplicated and uncluttered. It has an imaginative
presentation that gives it a friendly feel. In fact, gathering
information can actually be a fun experience with this
We think that World Book 2003 Deluxe Edition, priced at only
$19.99 US, is a great buy. The Ultra Deluxe Edition includes extra
CD-ROMs, but the 2 in the Deluxe Edition are more than likely enough.
However, those interested in exploring more programs might find the extras
worth the extra cost (the Ultra Deluxe Edition retails for $39.99
US). These CDs are: World Book Encyclopedia
of Science, World Book Encyclopedia of People and Places, Science,
World Book Student Dictionary, Summer Olympic Sports - The
Multimedia Edition, and Eyewitness World Atlas (an older title
originally published by DK).
For more information, user reviews, or to
World Book 2003 Deluxe Edition
World Book Encyclopedia 2003...
(Ultra Deluxe Ed.)
***UPDATE: The latest edition is World Book Encyclopedia 2004 Edition,
selected as one of the Best
Children's Software of 2003
- Information is relevant
and to the point.
kid-friendly product: easy reading level, clean
interface, appealing features that nurture curiosity.
- Less content than other
encyclopedias means that older kids and adults will need
more (we recommend Encarta).