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Big City Atlas

Big City Atlas

Published: 11 Jun 2020

Paperback / softback, 64 pages

Recommended for age 7+

By Maggie Li

Published by Pavilion Books

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RRP £8.99
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Join Penguin as he travels through 28 of the most amazing cities in the world. Each city has its own spread including a map of the central district, showing sites, cultural information, hot spots and famous landmarks. Look out for over 100 special details within the pages waiting to be explored!

Tagged countries , maps and towns and cities

Reviewed by Kate Hitchings

Big City Atlas by Maggie Li is a beautiful book that wears its learning lightly, this atlas shows twenty-eight different cities and captures the distinctive heart of each one.

Each city receives a double-page spread, and the consistent layout will encourage young readers to find information confidently. An endearing penguin introduces each new place with that country’s greeting. He shows the country, currency, language and population and offers a brief glimpse of the city’s unique appeal. Each spread also has a clear map of the city’s geography overlaid with a feast of facts and illustrations. The atlas strikes a superb balance; it mixes history and contemporary geography and it also incorporates both mainstream essentials and delightful trivia. Everyone who reads this will learn something, even if it is the shoe size of the Statue of Liberty! The atlas covers six continents, showing the rich diversity of the world, and its dazzling variety of culture and architecture.

Big City Atlas is an attractive book that children will pick up unprompted. They will enjoy hunting for the penguin, sometimes easily spotted, sometimes so well-disguised it will reward the careful re-reader! The statistics will appeal to some, others will pore over the witty illustrations or absorb a plethora of facts and trivia. It could be used in class to explore a single city at a time or to supplement another title such as One World, Many Colours; equally, it could be enjoyed at home and from cover to cover.

Younger children will benefit from an adult to help them link text and illustrations or to distinguish between historical information and contemporary reality. But in a world where it is currently harder to travel (this is a lockdown review), a book like this that inspires armchair exploration and opens children’s eyes to the beauty of the world is a life-enhancing thing.

Kate recently trained as a teacher, after many years as a TA, and now works in a large Cambridgeshire primary school. One of her favourite parts of the job is sharing the love of reading, both with children who already have the passion and with those whose enthusiasm needs whetting. As well as children's books she enjoys crime fiction and historical novels, biography and Christian theology... and anything else that looks appealing. When not reading, she will probably be knitting, walking her energetic springer spaniel or chatting over coffee. She has three grown up children, and doesn't notice when clutter accumulates, so it invariably does.