Saturday, 23 November 2013

Dorling Kindersley What's Where in the World

Let's pretend I bought this for the kids.  That's right.  I certainly didn't buy it because my general reaction to this question is "No idea." 

UK geography I can do.  I know my Wrexham from my Worcester, from my Shrewsbury from my St Albans. This is almost exclusively down to the fact that I spent the second decade of my life following a second-rate football club around the country, generally to places off the beaten tourist trail.

However, expand the map a little and I flounder, helpless. I had absolutely no idea up until about 3 months ago that Jamaica was off the coast of the USA. And I just had to google that to make sure that it was actually true. I think partly because I've never been outside of Europe (and not really very far into that continent!), but also because I was born without the spatial awareness gene that other people seem to be blessed with.  And I don't just mean, I have poor spatial awareness.  I really do have negligible to none.  For example there is a room at work that I must have been in 20 times, and I still have to ask a handy Year 7 for directions when I go.

Therefore when I clapped eyes on this book I knew it had to be mine.  That is, the kids'. Obv.  And actually it is fascinating.  There is such a wealth of information in here about the world.  From the basics, such as where the highest mountain peaks are, to where different animals are found, to a map showing rates of literacy across the globe.  It's a great book for promoting discussion, even if the conversations it prompts are not always comfortable ("but why is the life-expectancy only 43 there, Mummy!?  43 is young!")

Obviously the down-side of something so tied in to current affairs, is that, long-term, it will become outdated.  But for now, hugely recommended for children age 8 and up.

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