Real Wonders of the World is one of Lonely Planet’s new, Not for Parents, guides.
Amazon Vine, the review programme, sent me a copy of Real Wonders to review in return for my unbiased opinion.
Lonely Planet, best known as the friend of back packers everywhere has now branched out into a range of factual books for kids that remind me in the best way of the early years of the Dorling Kindersley range for children.
This book is in a kind of Guinness Book of Records style – the same kind of format and size, although slightly less weighty.
The book explores things that children will find wonderful rather than the traditional wonders of the world, or indeed things that mesmerise parents on holidays.
There are double page spreads dedicated to all kinds of things like the world of sweets, and where you can find some of the best sweet shops, produce etc. There is a section devoted to Harry Potter, and one to Lord of the Rings, as well as the more usual, encyclopaedia friendly things like the fastest vehicles in the world, the Hadron Collider at CERN and where you can find the deadliest animals etc.
The page layout is bright and colourful with lots of super saturated colour photos with eye popping text boxes in various sizes and colours. The information is broken up into easy to read and understand bite sized pieces which will work with children who have the attention span of a sound byte.
The book has been hugely popular with my seven year old son all weekend. He has lugged it about, coming to show me his ‘favourite’ page on numerous occasions. His favourite page being the one he happens to have opened the book to that time around.
If your child loves things like the Guinness Book of Records, and all mine do, this would be an excellent alternative, and a great Christmas or birthday gift.
From an adult perspective I found it strange the things they put into the book and conversely the things they left out. I wondered quite a lot about the editorial process that went into putting the book together. It did not seem to bother my son in the slightest, mind you, and his is the opinion that counts ultimately.
I would recommend it for six to twelve year olds. The information and layout is too juvenile for it to hold much appeal for older readers. It would be a brilliant book to have in any primary school library, as the excellent quality graphics and photography, as well as the child friendly content in terms of interest, will make it a book the children fight over. Whether it would be any good as a teaching tool is debatable mind you.