Book Review: Beginner's World Atlas

Reading Level

Ages 4-8

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An atlas is supposed to show political boundaries, of course, but some atlases show those and only those, forgetting about the mountains, streams, and rivers that are every bit as important to a geographical understanding of the world as where those country capitals and borders are. Thankfully, this new great-looking atlas from National Geographic avoids that trap. In fact, the geography is the star of the show.

The first thing you see when you open this oversized yet easy-to-handle book is a geographical map, a great-looking presentation of the forests, mountains, and rivers that make up a picturesque view of the world. The resolution on the maps is first-rate, and the result is a representation of a living, breathing Earth.

Countries and their capitals are included, of course, and they are the very latest according to the most recent world census.

The real stars of the show come next, however: They are the pictures that illustrate the landforms and wildlife to be found in each continent detailed on the following changes. Each of Earth's seven continents is shown in all of its geographic and political detail, and the land is further described by the categories of Land Regions, Water, Climate, Plants, and Animals.

And it's not just land and countries that make up a successful atlas. People are also part of the landscape. Each continent is described in terms of which languages its people speak and what products its people make. Again, the pictures are the star of the show.

Those reading all the words and looking at all the pictures and maps in this atlas will have a much wider understanding of the world than they had before.

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