Cities rather than nations are the focus of this unique, colorful, and lavishly-illustrated oversize volume for elementary grades.
City Atlas: Travel the World with 30 City Maps by Georgia Cherry, illustrated by Martin Haake. Wide-Eyed Editions, 2016, 63 pages.
Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-10
Recommended for: ages 7-12
Like Maps (Candlewick, 2013), City Atlas is an oversize volume with double-page spreads and no photographs. This survey of some of the world’s great cities presents a basic geography of each (rivers, seacoasts, mountains), with numerous icons representing the city’s history, landmarks, culture, and cuisine. Most of these illustrations are good-natured, child-friendly, humorous and varied. Younger children (well, maybe the older ones too) will enjoy the search challenges on each page (e.g., “Find five plates of Schnitzel” in Vienna).
Even though all continents except Antarctica are represented, they are weighted toward the west: a whopping 14 in Europe, 3 in the US, 2 in Canada, only one each in Africa and Australia. I would have appreciated a little more diversity, but the concept of surveying cities instead of nations is unique and fascinating. Cities do not necessarily represent the character of a nation, but they do represent its treasures and national pride. Kids who enjoy maps will be fascinated by these.
Cautions: Visually problematic (some nudity in art, e.g. nude statues, all small with minor detail)
Overall Rating: 4 (out of 5)