Title: A Child’s History of the World
Author: Virgil M. Hillyer
Major Themes: World History
Synopsis: The entire scope of history is told in an interesting manner.
It’s a little bit hard to review a book you’ve read over the course of four or five years! Yes, that’s how long it took us to get through world history for the younger boys. We took several months at a time off, as I read other books to flesh out our study and go along with A Child’s History of the World.
This book is a very readable account of the major events through the history of the world, from the earliest records to the Vietnam War. There are a few stories here and there through history that made enough of an impression that some of the children still remember them, several years later—like where the word “laconic” came from. (Ancient Sparta, in case you didn’t know; you’ll have to read the book to know why.)
On the other hand, I don’t appreciate the author’s bias. It’s fairly obvious that Virgil M. Hillyer is not a Christian. Not only do the first four chapters talk about prehistory, they talk about all of life evolving from nothing, and man becoming better and smarter. If you skip those four chapters, the book is fairly accurate, although a few times in the section that covered the first several centuries AD, we noticed that he sort of put down Christians, rather mocking them. I can’t tell you exactly where, because I didn’t take notes as we read the book (I wasn’t writing reviews of the books we read at that time!).
For an overview of history, this book is a good choice for younger children, but be careful of the bias and when you notice it, discuss your views with your children. It would make a good time to talk about worldview and how an author’s worldview influences his writing.
WARNING: See main body of review.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12