Monday, February 18, 2013

So You Want to be a World Explorer? by Judith St. George

So You Want to be a World Explorer? by Judith St. George, illustrated by David Small

Rating: 4.5 stars

This book has a bunch of my favorite words: Plucky. Thrilling. Adventuresome. Gutsy.  Gusto. Risk. Spunky. Moxie.  These new vocabulary words are reasons enough to bring this book home from the library more than once!

We liked So You Want to be President? but didn't love it.  It seemed a bit disorganized, though the illustrations from the great David Small were too great to linger on that negative.  Judith St. George rectified her mistake and organized this book and So You Want to be an Inventor? and made them great, rather than good.  And the illustrations catapult them into amazing.  These are terrific books for the older picture book reader.  (Younger ones will still get drawn into the pictures, but there is just too much information for kids younger than 5, I think.)

In this book, after a brief introduction, Judith St. George takes one attribute of explorers (for example, they might make a discovery and not even know it; they make mistakes like everyone else; they must be risk takers; they must respect the natives) and gives two examples.  These examples are three to five short sentences, so we're going for breadth not depth here.  This is just to whet a child's appetite, to provide the briefest introduction, to pique their curiosity to this whole explorer stuff.  Or to provide some quality imaginative kid-planned explorations in their backyard, a local park, or even their bathtub.

As someone whose wanderlust led most of my decisions in my twenties, I like the idea of exploring different parts of the earth.  Therefore, I greatly appreciated St. George's broad definition of exploring.  At the end she includes gene exploration, something I would never have thought of.  She ends the book by inviting kids to start and keep exploring--what a way to spend your life!  I might just quit my day job.

I recently reviewed another book on exploring--the never-to-be-topped Lonely Planet has come out with books beyond guide books.  They are really interesting, and we keep our copy of How to be a World Explorer in the car.  It's perfect for long car rides where a kid's attention span might be challenged by a looooong car ride...  Yet another book that will help plant the travel bug in your child (for better or for worse!).

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