Title: The Story of the World Volume 3: Early Modern Times
Author: Susan Wise Bauer
Series: Story of the World, book 3
Major Themes: Australia, China, England, France, India, Japan, Russia
Synopsis: World history from Elizabeth the First to the Forty-Niners is introduced in a series of short, interesting chapters.
This is not the first time we have used The Story of the World Volume 3 for history, but it is the first time I have read it! The other time, I had my daughter read it herself, and always felt rather gypped, since I didn’t have time to read it to her. That’s one reason I like to go through the same level of history more than once, so if I miss something I can pick it up later. Unfortunately, my boys didn’t enjoy the book as much as I did, but not everything we read is going to be an exciting adventure!
I appreciate Susan Wise Bauer’s thoroughness in covering world history for children. She works her way around the world, telling not only what happened in the Americas and Europe, but also in places like India, Japan, and Africa. Volume 3 of this series begins by describing the great European empires of the 1600s, then goes on to the discovery and early settlement of the New World. Along the way, we make a quick visit to Japan and China, then hop back over to North America and a couple of wars, followed by the founding of the United States. Then it’s off again to Australia for a chapter, and then to France to see the French Revolution.
We also learn about Catherine the Great in Russia and Napoleon in France. One chapter even covers the rebellion in which Haiti became independent! Several chapters discuss the turmoil in South America and problems with slavery in England and America. The book ends with a chapter about New Zealand and one about the Gold Rush in California.
Every chapter begins with a map. This is a great way to get in some geography, and to see how events fit together. The chapters are short; each one takes less than 15 minutes to read. That makes this book an excellent spine for a history curriculum. I like to supplement with a lot of historical novels, to flesh out the stories, but you wouldn’t have to.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15