Maps of the United Kingdom – Rachel Dixon & Livi Gosling

mapsoftheunitedkingdomMy soon-to-be 5 year old son absolutely adores maps.

Maps and youtube are the 2 things that will hold his attention for longer than 5 minutes. He has a scarily accurate sense of direction too and a brilliant brain for remembering road names and how to get to places, he’s my real-life SatNav, it’s ace. So when I came across this book I knew that I had to, I mean, erm, Father Christmas, had to get it for him for Christmas.

Maps of the United Kingdom is no ordinary atlas…

with beautiful, busy illustrations by Livi Gosling, there’s a lot to look at; divided into each country of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland, each double page spread focuses on a county (or sometimes a couple of neighbouring counties too), and the pages are packed full of little nuggets of information about the well-known landmarks as well as the less well-known in that county. Also, for each county there are 7 mini-profiles of notable people that were born in the area and what they are known for, and what struck me most about the people featured is that there is a really inclusive mix here, not just as many women as men (always refreshing to see) but transgender people too – I was impressed to see the singer Anohni given some recognition on the page. I also liked the juxtaposition of historical figures and modern day celebrities; there’s not many books where you’ll see the Venerable Bede placed next to Cheryl (formerly of Girls Aloud)! It’s worth noting that this isn’t the kind of map book you would use in the car to navigate your way to a seaside holiday in Great Yarmouth; there’s only a handful of towns and cities named for each county, but it is the kind of book you’d pack anyway so you could see how many of the places you could visit!

Maps of the United Kingdom is aimed at 6-10 year olds, and would be suitable for a reading age of 7+, but I’m approaching 38 and have spent just as much time poring over it as my son, and neither of us fall into the recommended ages, which just goes to show what a superb book this is. It’s the kind of book where you’ll immediately turn to the page where you live/ have lived and coo over your favourite places – this was the first thing my son said when I asked him what he liked about the book. We’re already using it to plan our next holiday, but don’t worry, I’ll just ask my son how to get there…

[Reviewer’s own copy – we love it that much!]

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