Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

National Geographic United States Atlas for Young Explorers, Third Edition

National Geographic United States Atlas for Young Explorers, Third Edition

From the editors at Nat. Geographic
For ages 8 to 12
National Geographic Children's Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-1426302558

An atlas is just a book of maps right? Wrong. It is true that some atlases are just a collection of maps, but this atlas is a lot more. In this substantial book, there are maps showing the whole of the United States, maps of all the individual states and territories, maps showing population levels, and maps showing physical features and the natural environment. But there are also essays, numerous photographs, flags, graphs, and boxes full of interesting facts. In addition, and perhaps most interesting of all, there is a dedicated website that readers can visit where they will find more information, audio clips, video clips, and games. On the pages, readers will see icons indicating that there are web features to explore that are related to the map or that topic on that page.

For example, let's explore the Northeast maps section – the second of eight sections that can be found in the title. Here readers will find physical and political maps of the northeast states. Then there is an article about the northeast that talks about the cultural and historical riches of this area. On these pages there are two information icons and a video icon. Online, readers will find an article about lobsters, an animal that is widely found in the waters off the northeast coast. There is also an article about Philadelphia, a city that featured prominently in the early history of the republic.

After this, there are individual maps for each of the northeastern states, with articles, photographs, facts and figures, and much more. Online there are more photos, informational articles, video clips, audio clips, and games. In one of the audio/video clips, readers can find out about the crab fishery off Smith Island in Maryland, and in another they can hear about "The rhythms of New York City." The volume of material to look through is astonishing - and fascinating - and readers will find that they can literally spend  hours exploring the book and its associated website.

Once again, the creative people at National Geographic have outdone themselves. They have produced a book unlike any other, and a resource that readers of all ages will able to use and enjoy for years to come.