My little children and I enjoy the early True Books for early elementary science and history (K-3). This series was created by Children's Press in the 50's and 60's, under the direction of Illa Podendorf. The work was done by a variety of authors and illustrators. Reading levels vary from late first grade to third grade.
The True Books were published both as separate volumes and as sets. One set of True Books, The True Science Library was published in 1963 and bound 33 True Books as 11 hardcover volumes. Most of these have red covers. (In 10 years, I have never seen a complete set.)
A later set of True Books was published as the I Want to Know About.... set for a few years around 1970. It was published both as 18 volumes and as 22 volumes, both of these with a separate hardcover Index volume. The first of these includes 54 True Books and the second 66 True Books.
(If any of you who love book sales ever find one of these sets, pick it up, if not for yourself, then to pass along to another homeschooler. They are scarce as complete sets.)
Here is a two page spread from The True Book of Weeds and Wildflowers.
And one from The True Book of Dogs.
All of these books are simply written for the early reader. Several of them include experiments for children to do themselves--making an electromagnet, using a lever, investigating vibrations, and so forth.
The text is simple. The illustrations were done with various materials and in many styles. Overall, they are worthwhile books for preschoolers and early elementary children.
I believe the following is a complete list of True Books published through 1972. Numerous other titles have been published as New True Books since that time. These later books do remind me very much of standard textbooks; they lack the charming illustrations and appealing text of the early True Books.
The True Book of....
Air Around Us
Airports and Airplanes
Animals of Sea and Shore
Animals of Small Pond
Birds We Know
Magnets and Electricity
Moon, Sun, and Stars
Moon-ride Rock Hunt
More Science Experiments
Pebbles and Shells
Plants We Know
Police and Firemen
Rocks and Minerals
Ships and Seaports
Sounds We Hear
Springtime Tree Seeds
Tools for Building
Toys at Work
Weeds and Wildflowers
Your Body and You
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