A tourist atlas of sorts, in which maps of select countries are reduced to little more than natural and political borders to serve as backdrops for thousands of small images.
Arranged by continent—with Europe’s section first and by far the largest—the maps each fill an oversized spread. All are the same size, so that, without regard for scale, the illustrators allot Iceland and New Zealand the same space as, for instance, Antarctica and Russia (including Siberia). Every map teems with labeled, colored drawings of characteristic wildlife and local residents, renowned figures from history and legend, major cities and landforms, famous buildings, important industries, foods, foliage, works of art, musical instruments, and other place-linked sights and items. The images overflow into neighboring oceans and seas, where they share space with pictures of sea life, boats and water sports. Sidestepping the stereotypical tendencies common to older illustrated maps, here human figures sport modern dress as well as regional costume (with labels for most of the latter that note “traditional dress”) and, often, specific tribal or cultural identifications. Flags and basic facts are tucked into the corners, but the intent here is plainly to present crazy-quilt impressions of each country’s history and culture rather than systematic geophysical information.
Not a complete world, but rewarding fare nonetheless for both young cartografiends and armchair travelers. (Informational picture book. 6-12)