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SCHOLASTIC FIRST DICTIONARY

Edited by Judith Levey

Scholastic

224 pp., $14.95

Ages 6-9

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WORLD ATLAS FOR YOUNG EXPLORERS

Edited

by Patricia Daniels

National Geographic Society

176 pp., $24.95

Ages 8-14

THE READER'S DIGEST CHILDREN'S ATLAS OF THE WORLD

Edited by Colin Sale

Reader's Digest

128 pp., $22.99

Ages 8-13

CHILDREN'S ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA

Edited by Ann Kramer

DK Publishing

644 pp., $39.95

Ages 7-10

THE KINGFISHER CHILDREN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA

Edited by Sarah Allen

Kingfisher

492 pp., $35

Ages 8-14

'Borrrrring!" If that's your reaction to a shelf of reference books, you're remembering the tomes of long ago. Nowadays, these resources are bright, colorful, and - dare I say it - fun!

It's never too early to start introducing kids to words, their proper meanings, and spellings. Scholastic First Dictionary was created just for the younger students. Words are defined in simple terms, and pronunciation guides - while not the standard symbols that some purists might want - are helpful. Black printed type for more than 1,500 entries is large and easy to read.

The contemporary nature of this work is attested by the inclusion of such words as "camcorder" and "VCR" - and by up-to-date definitions for "recycling" and "mouse" (rodent and computer part).

Another valuable attribute is the way photos are used to draw readers into the page. There are no illustrations, just hundreds of bright, colorful photographs with obvious kid-appeal. Scholastic has succeeded in creating an interesting and informative dictionary for those just beginning to read and write.

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