Monday, September 30, 2013
Children's Picture Atlas by Usborne
Rating: 4.5 stars
I really want Lorelei, Ben, and Kiefer to have a terrific sense of geography. That desire-turned-goal comes from having traveled around the country, living in a bunch of different places as the daughter of a soldier. Add to that living in a few different parts of Asia and traveling around to a few more in my twenties, and you get someone who can say she definitely was a traveler. (Now I just travel via books. And to Reston. Does that count as travel?)
This atlas, given to Lorelei by my sister for her 5th birthday, is a wonderful children's atlas that gives a whole lot of information presented in a manageable, organized, and understandable fashion. One of the Standards of Learning for first grade social studies (nerdy me looked them up) here in Virginia involves maps. And looky here, there is a page on maps--what they show, how they are made, different types of them--and a page on people--different cultures have different clothing, music, food, and religion.
(Of course, everyone is smiling and happy on this page, suggesting harmonic world peace despite these differences. Maybe understanding the issues that arise from religious and cultural differences are part of the Standard of Learning in grade 4...)
Then, there are pages about different climates and habitats. Another Standard of Learning is climates, and how they shape the choices people have and the cultures that mature in them. These pages do a really great job of showing just that--the homes desert people live in, the animals those in grasslands need to worry about, the religious festivals that occur alongside (and in) some rivers. On these pages are symbols that kids can take the time to find on the next pages, which are...
Here come the maps! The first is of the world, of course. Green and blue and for travelers like me a bit of a dare: where you gonna go next? Then, each of the continents. The continents are a little crowded with symbols of animals, crops, and activities, but clearly and thankfully most kids are more interested in where wild horses run free than the political boundaries of Poland and Germany.
For someone who has a map of the world tattooed on her ankle (that'd be me--not my wisest choice ever, but...not something I lose sleep over either), a good book on maps is important. Many thanks to my sister for finding this one for us!
P.S. Speaking of maps, we love this puzzle of the United States, designed by children's book author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino!