An ambitious fact book about children from the past, present, and near future highlights millennium years. Jackson (The Book of Slime, 1997, etc.) explains that the next millennium will actually begin with the year 2001, and provides information on marking the new year, historically. She draws on many sources to present facts on 11 children living in either England or America, beginning with a peasant boy in the year 1000. ""I own only the clothes on my back, and they once belonged to my grandfather,"" the ten-year-old boy states in a short monologue. A list of facts that identify the era follows: ""Books are rare and valuable. Many people have never seen one."" The format follows in double-page spreads, one devoted to each child. There is Eleanor, a child of the upper classes, betrothed at age seven and living in a nunnery in 1100. Alice, ten, is a chambermaid in 1400; her toys are tops, soap bubbles, shells, and stones. An eight-year-old in Pennsylvania describes ice cream in 1900 and a boy in California rings in the year 2000 while making microwave popcorn and phoning his sister in Australia. While only two pages illustrate each century, Ellis includes countless revealing, domestic details that extend the text, and make vivid these children's lives. An astute and provocative book for browsing, or for tying into assignments on the approaching millennium.