Even though the manual that ships with Photoshop is quite detailed and an excellent reference, it is not well suited to learning about groups of tasks and how they can be used to edit an image. While the manual has scattered sections that cover levels, cropping and resolution, Classroom In A Book groups these together in one section under the logical heading of Photo Retouching. This takes you through each step of improving the look of your photos in one location, rather than jumping between different chapters.
Other chapters follow a similar structure and show you how to create special effects, work with layers, masks and more. The book is not a replacement for the manual, as some of the finer details of the manual appear to have been removed in order to simplify topics.
One minor criticism is that while the book is aimed at both Macintosh and Windows users, the screen grabs have been done on a Macintosh. This may confuse Windows users who are not aware of the occasional differences in the menus and dialogue boxes.
The CD-ROM that ships with the book is also a let-down. It contains some handy images that are discussed in the book and a copy of Adobe Type Manager, but this only occupies about 60MB of the 650MB available. There would have been plenty of room for interactive tutorials for fiddly operations.