Sunday 10 July 2016

The Travel Book - Lonely Planet Kids

Even though I've not finished reading this, I am pretty sure that (one can never be too sure) this is one of my favourite books of all time.*

Price: AUD$19 from Target (Hardcover), $25+ online
Published: September 2015 (1st Edition)
Author (?) and Illustrator respectively: Malcolm Croft and Maggie Li
Pages: 211 (slightly larger than A4)

If you love countries, travelling or learning about cultures, I would highly recommend this book to you. It is absolutely excellent and a real keeper.

Forget about the fact that the book is supposedly for kids. If an adult knew every fact in this book, they would either have to be very well-read or incredibly well-travelled because the book covers a plethora of cultural concepts and national facts.

In essence, Lonely Planet Kids' The Travel Book captures the imagination of its readers by going through the unique aspects of EVERY country in the world (albeit very briefly).

When I talk about unique aspects I mean:
  • Culture;
  • History;
  • What the country is renowned for;
  • Wildlife, plants, animals; and 
  • Geographical features or landmarks.
The term 'EVERY country' could be up for debate but the book does include the world's newest 'nations' South Sudan and Kosovo (although the latter may still be waiting for formal recognition). By my count there are 203 nations included in the book in total.

I understand there are actually some 196 official countries in the world at the time of writing -- how the book reaches 203 is something I'll have to look into but I suppose you have to bear in mind that Taiwan, Hong Kong and Palestine each have their separate entries. Perhaps some of the Oceania entries are actually 'external territories' of existing nations rather than countries?

I think this book would make for a great preliminary travel research tool for adults. Each country is featured on a page with approximately 5-7 unique things about it represented by real photographs or cartoon drawings. I've already started to make a list of things to see and do in Africa for example (not that I would ever get the chance to do all of them - but just for fun).

Every country has something interesting to offer, and so far there is no real repetition that I can see. Certainly some countries have similar sorts of cultural features though (eg. the warrior-clan-like tribal groups of various African nations) but every country's page is a fresh discovery and well-presented for fun light-hearted reading.

Countries are somewhat randomly sorted by region, but there is an index on the front if you want to look up at particular country.

The more obscure countries are really quite fascinating, and you can tell that the creators of this book have done their research [not that I am capable of verifying any of the information - except by Googling or using Wikipedia].

To give you an idea of what to expect, kindly have a look at the page above for Australia -- I have deliberately not included pages of other countries because I don't want to spoil the experience for you should you choose to get this book. :)

You may never look at any country the same way again.


Andre Lim

* However this book, which is the kids edition, may soon be eclipsed by the adult version, which I have ordered!


  1. Have you tried Paul Theroux? The Happy Isles of Oceania is amazing. And anything by Travel Books

    1. Thanks for the tip Joseph, I haven't tried any of those but I will certainly keep them in mind

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