Children's and Junior Encyclopedias

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Children’s and Junior Encyclopedias


popular science and reference literature intended for the self-education and upbringing of children and young people. Such encyclopedias acquaint readers with the surrounding world, the fundamentals of the scientific disciplines, the achievements of science, technology, and culture, and their own and foreign countries. According to the differences in age of their readers, they are divided into children’s and junior encyclopedias. Two basic types have evolved: the systematic (the predominant type) and the alphabetical, dictionary type; sometimes the two are combined (the Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia, for example, is divided into volumes by spheres of knowledge, whereas the material in each volume is arranged alphabetically).

The prototype of the junior encyclopedia was Comenius’ Orbis sensualium pictus (1658; first Russian translation, 1768). In the late 18th and early 19th centuries children’s and junior encyclopedias with a systematic arrangement began to appear in a number of Western European countries. In Russia the first children’s encyclopedia was published in 1802—The Children’s Encyclopedia, or a New Condensation of All the Arts and Sciences. The best prerevolutionary work was I. D. Sytin’s ten-volume Children’s Encyclopedia (Moscow, 1913-14), prepared with the assistance of Iu. N. Vagner, N. A. Morozov, M. N. Novorusskii, and other scholars.

The USSR has published a systematic Children’s Encyclopedia, edited by A. I. Markushevich (1st ed., 1958-62, 10 vols., 2nd ed., 1964-69, 12 vols.), and an alphabetical, dictionary-type publication entitled What Is It? Who Is It? (vols. 1-2, Moscow, 1968).

Abroad, children’s and junior encyclopedias have been published in many countries; the most important of these works are, in Great Britain, the Oxford Junior Encyclopedia (vols. 1-13, Oxford, 1964), the Junior Science Encyclopedia (vols. 1-8, London, 1966), and Children’s Britannica (vols. 1-12, London, 1964); in India, Children’s Encyclopedia (vols. 1-10, New Delhi, 1967; in Hindi); in Italy, Alphabetical Encyclopedia for Children (vols. 1-3, Milan, 1956) and Treasury of the Italian Child (5th ed., vols. 1-8, Turin, 1968—); in the USA, The New Book of Knowledge: The Children’s Encyclopedia, (vols. 1-20, New York, 1969) and the Britannica Junior Encyclopaedia for Boys and Girls (vols. 1-15, Chicago-London, 1969); in France, R. Guillot’s Larousse Encyclopedia for Children (Paris, 1956; translated into English in the USA in 1958 and Great Britain in 1962) and the Encyclopedia for Young People (vols. 1-4, Paris, 1958-62); in the Federal Republic of Germany, Meyer’s Children’s Lexicon (Mannheim, 1960) and Knaur’s Young People’s Lexicon (Munich, 1960).

The children’s and junior encyclopedias published in the socialist countries include, in Hungary, Children’s Encyclopedia (Budapest, 1961); in the German Democratic Republic, From “Anton” to “Cylinder”: A Lexicon for Children (Berlin, 1968) and Meyer’s Young People’s Lexicon (Leipzig, 1968); in Czechoslovakia, The World Around Us (Prague, 1963); Children’s Encyclopedia (3rd ed., Prague, 1966; translated into Slovak, Bratislava, 1966, and Bulgarian, Sofia, 1961), and What Is This …? (Prague, 1968); and in Yugoslavia, The World Around Us: An Encyclopedia for Children and Young People (vol. 1, A-M, 3rd ed., Zagreb, 1964) and Children’s Encyclopedia (3rd ed., Novi Sad, 1962).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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