Lonely Planet Debuts New Kids Book Series

Parker discovering Martian volcanoes.
Parker discovering Martian volcanoes.

Lonely Planet is renowned for their travel guides, cool website, and mobile apps, but did you know that they now offer a series of children’s books?

LP approached us here at What a Trip and offered to send us a couple of books from their new series, Lonely Planet Kids to review. There are five titles in the series—Amazing World Atlas, How to be a Space Explorer, Adventures in Busy Places, Adventures in Cold Places and Adventures in Wild Places. We chose The Amazing World Atlas and How to Be a Space Explorer by Mark Brake.

I was immediately taken by the look and quality of the books. Both are beautifully-designed hardcovers with thick glossy pages, packed with illustrations, infographics, photos, facts, and local lore.

Parker, my ten-year-old daughter curled up with How to Be a Space Explorer and told me it was “super interesting” and she liked the fact that “facts were weaved into a story.” Among the tidbits she learned was that there are two types of fuel in rockets—solid and liquid—and many different types of robots that have gone to the moon and Mars.

My son Roman is seven and we read through The Amazing World Atlas over several bedtime sessions. He especially liked the little sidebars throughout—faves included an illustrated comparison between the biggest dinosaur ever known to exist that was discovered in Patagonia and a Boeing 737. The were roughly the same size in case you wondered. We also had fun with the quizzes sprinkled throughout.

I must say I learned lots too—random odd facts like the Danes eat more than 100 million hot dogs per year and that the Aral Sea, the fourth-biggest lake in the world vanished and is now a polluted desert.

Both books have a jaunty, approachable writing style with humor and engaging information. But I found the Atlas to be confusing, even with an intro that purports to explain how to use the book. I also disagreed with some of the choices for Top 10s and famous folks from different countries. I mean Americans Neil Armstrong, Sitting Bull and Mark Twain, yes. But Avril Lavigne and Jennifer Lawrence, not so much.

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Roman learning about archipelagos in Southeast Asia.
Roman learning about archipelagos in Southeast Asia.

Insider Tip

With the Amazing World Atlas app kids can interact with maps, discover fun facts and test their geography knowledge. It is available in the App Store or on Google Play for $2.99 for ages 9 to 11.

Now that’s a good use for the iPad.

This post was contributed by Lisa Dion. I received complementary books from Lonely Planet for review.