These books are a magnet for my visual learners. From the first look at the cover, you can tell they are rich in detail. The design is representative of what is inside - the iWitness Archaeology book looks like a well-worn journal. The New Testament iWitness cover looks like the cover of an illuminated manuscript. And that look and feel continue throughout the pages inside.
Not written like a traditional text, the inside is a feast for the eyes. Doug Powell, wrote the text and designed the layout. Each page contains facts, often looking like handwritten notes to go along with photos of various artifacts, tablets, scrolls and artwork. No white space - save the "journal" pages or notes (and some of this is technically not white, but aged). I say this not as a complaint -- I love the feel of these books. My youngest son can experience sensory overload. He was the only one who didn't want a turn to look at a book. He is only four, the books are aimed at those 11 and older. The target audience is based mostly on the reading level; there is nothing objectionable. I do think my son's lack of interest is due to the full-ness of the pages. He loves looking through other visually rich books (that also have a lot of white space).
iWitness Archaeology has photos of dig sites, archeologist's tools, maps and more. It really is like looking through the journal of one who has spent time digging through history - literally. Being fans, we couldn't help but think of Indiana Jones. Each page (two-page spread) has a focus, which is indicated in the upper left. Beginning with evidence of the worldwide flood (Noah's flood) and working chronologically through Old Testament wrapping up with the early church and the times of Jesus. There is a bibliography and image credits at the back. At roughly thirty pages, it is easy to read through in a day or spend a few weeks looking at each section/chapter individually.
Old Testament iWitness looks at how our Old Testament came to be. The manuscripts and canon considerations, the parts of the Hebrew Bible - Torah, Nevi'im (Prophets), Ketuvi'im (Writings) are all covered. The Septuagint and Vulgate each have a section, as do the Apocrypha and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The layout is similar to that in the Archaeology book in that each topic is titled in the upper left of a two-page spread. Some topics may span two of these spreads. This book is different in that there is much more writing. The layout breaks up the text so that is not textbook like, yet much of the time it continues through the "journal" pages spread across the pages. This made it more difficult for my children to read themselves, yet easier as a family read aloud.
We spent most of our time in the Old Testament iWitness and iWitness Archaeology books. These fit great with our focus this year on Ancient History. There are facts and bits of trivia that we haven't seen elsewhere. That makes these a great companion to history studies for homeschool families. The New Testament iWitness shows and tells how the modern day New Testament came to be. That makes this a great reference for any family. These are historical facts, not someone's thoughts. That makes these books great for sharing with skeptics and non-believers.