Book Review: My Picture Atlas by Roger Priddy

The book was triggered by Sam and Rose asking their father, Roger Priddy, “Where is Senegal?” The result is something which is aimed at junior school children – just over ninety pages of information, pictures, maps and flags of every country in the world. They emphasise the fact that every country is mentioned. I thought I had caught them out as Andorra is not in the index (though San Marino is twice), but it’s there in the text.

This is a very attractive book to handle, one of the most bright and cheerful books we have seen, and the layout is really clear. At the front there are maps of the continents and countries, and at the back there is one showing time zones. There is also an index to help children find the countries in the text.

In between, countries are grouped by continents. The amount of information about each country is very variable, with something on each state in the USA and whole pages for England, Ireland and Canada, while many other countries have to make do with a few lines. It seems that more space has been given to the bigger countries and those that children are more likely to visit on holiday or see in the news, which makes sense.

It is no doubt difficult to decide what information to select, but some choices seem uncomplimentary or strange. Qatar sounds as though it has no attractive feature at all, and in view of the fact that Kazakhstan is oil-rich and the size of western Europe, Roger Priddy may find that Borat files a complaint since half the entry is about gerbils.

The gripes are minor, though. This book can be commended as a really good introductory atlas which children will find easy and interesting to use.

Priddy, R. (2006) My Picture Atlas (Smart Kids S.) Priddy Books, London
ISBN 1-84332-127-0

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