Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yesterday's Classics - TOS Product Review

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be—
I had a mother who read to me.
Strickland Gillilan

Reading to my children has been one of the greatest joys in my life. To watch their faces as they listen intently, to hear the words, "just one more chapter!", to sharing tears of happiness and even sometimes tears of sadness, to know life lessons have been learned and remembered, these are just some of the wonders of reading books together.

From Yesterday's Classics website:

Yesterday's Classics republishes classic books for children in high-quality paperback editions. These books, first published in the golden age of children's literature from 1880 and 1920 and long out of print, are reprinted in modern easy-to-read type for today's readers. The illustrations from the original volumes have been included except in those few cases where the quality of the original images was too low to make their reproduction feasible. Color illustrations in the original volumes are rendered in black and white in these editions.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a book fanatic. Walk in our front door and you will immediately see our huge library span the width of two rooms. There's just something about having a good book nearby. With the exception of curriculum for math and science, every book I have bought for our homeschool over the past ten years can be found in our library. Yes, yes, I know.

Our paper books are handled with great care. You don't write in them (I know, Andrew Pudewa is yelling, "Don't listen to her!"), you don't write on them, you don't crack the spine, and you never ever bend a page as a bookmark. Never. I have kept all of these beautiful books because I just don't know if they will still be available for my children should they decide to homeschool their children some day in the future. When it comes to classic literature, well, I'm hooked.

So imagine me having the opportunity to review 225 books in a Kindle format. Wow! is right! Honestly, I wasn't sure how I would feel about reading a book without holding it in my hands, without turning a paper page, or without being able to feel the weight of a massive classic. Well, I got over any hesitations on my part in about three seconds flat! We love reading books on our Kindles (yes, we have two now). Having 225 Yesterday's Classics titles available at our fingertips anytime...anywhere is amazing. I took every single book with me when we were traveling last month. And the weight of lugging all those books around? 10 ounces.

After receiving an e-mail with a link to the download, I was able to download a number of ZIP files in a matter of minutes. We have a very high-speed Internet connection and so I experienced no delays or difficulties in this process. If you have a slower speed service, you might want to get it started and then find something else to do for a little while. After the ZIP files were downloaded, I was able to unZIP each one in seconds and then moved them onto my Kindle. And just like that, I had 225 classic books available to browse and read through. While I didn't read all 225 books, it was easy for me to see how broad was the selection and how great it would be to incorporate many of them into our homeschool.

Here's a little peek at a few titles that really grabbed my attention:

American History Stories, Volumes I, II, III and IV by Mara L. Pratt

Alexander the Great by Jacob Abbott

The Early Church, from Ignatius to Augustine by George Hodges

English Literature for Boys and Girls by H. E. Marshall

Four Great Americans by James Baldwin

Grammar-Land by M. L. Nesbitt

The Growth of the British Empire by M. B. Synge

Hannibal by Jacob Abbott

...I could keep going, but you'd be better off looking through the list of titles along with a photo of the book cover, a detailed description of each book, and the recommended age of the reader. Please, take a few minutes and look at this incredible list.

Now it just so happens my students were writing a report on Charlemagne shortly after receiving all 225 Yesterday's Classics titles. Out of curiosity I opened up my Kindle and searched all of my books for the word "Charlemagne." Within a couple of seconds, I had a list of 27 books pop-up, sorted by the most hits to the least. The first book, The Story of Roland, contains the word Charlemagne 348 times. The second book, Stories of Roland Told to the Children, contains the word Charlemagne 124 times. I was able to point my students to these two classic works for additional information on their subject matter. Without an intimate knowledge of every book in my paper book library, this task could never be accomplished. On the other hand, I learned that Charlemagne appears twice in Moby Dick, but this was not the Charlemagne we were looking for! We performed this same exercise to find books about the Civil War.

Another great feature of having Kindle-based books from Yesterday's Classics is the ability to read multiple books at the same time and having bookmarks automatically created for you. Books can be sorted by title, author, and collections. It even keeps the most recently read book at the top.

Check this out...

Take advantage of this special offer being made by Yesterday's Classics to receive 225 classic titles in Kindle or EPub format for less than $100. That's about forty-four cents a book! If you were to buy each of these printed books individually, the cost would be almost $2500.

Yesterday's Classics book titles cover collections which include World History, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Middle Ages, American History, Early Civilizations, Nature, Fables, Fairy Tales, Biographies, Poetry and many others.

In case you missed it earlier, to see this vast collection of classic titles and detailed descriptions, click here. Please know that this special offer ends on May 31st. After this date, this collection will cost $149.95.

While Kindle has a separate format, the EPub format can be used on a Nook, a Kobo, a Sony Reader, an iPad, an iPhone, or any other type of smart phone. If you're not sure which one you might need, Yesterday's Classics has great customer support. I found the question I had was answered quickly and very much to my satisfaction. Should you decide to add a new format later (you have a Kindle, but end up purchasing an iPad), Yesterday's Classics will provide a link which allows a second format to be received free of charge. Honestly, how can you go wrong with that? Well, just to make sure, they offer a 100% Risk Free Guarantee. If you're not satisfied, they will refund the purchase price.

If that's not enough, without Digital Rights Management (DRM) and other restrictions, you can put these 225 titles on as many devices as you own. In addition, each of the 225 titles has the ability to be printed whenever you choose.

Yesterday's Classics titles include illustrations (in color where they were originally in color, and in black and white where they were originally in black and white), correct page formatting and a table of contents which is very much needed for easy navigation between chapters. While some of these titles can be found for free on-line, these important features are not usually included. I tried one of these non-formatted versions and, let's just say, it makes reading frustrating and much less enjoyable.

Yesterday's Classics titles have been adopted by top curriculum developers such as Ambleside Online, Heart of Dakota, Living Books Curriculum and Tapestry of Grace.

If you love to incorporate classic literature into your homeschool or just want to have quality reading materials for your family, I highly HIGHLY recommend Yesterday's Classics. It was my privilege to review this incredible product.

Thank you, Yesterday's Classics!

Here's some additional company information you might find helpful:

Recommended for ages 4 through 18 although these book titles are appropriate for anyone who loves to read.

Lisa M. Ripperton
Yesterday's Classics
PO Box 3418
Chapel Hill, NC 27515

9 AM to 5 PM EST Monday through Friday

Happy reading my friends!

I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences on the products and services that I receive.