This modestly oversized volume is a Google Earth launch vehicle for young grade-schoolers.
The book starts with an introduction to Google Earth (a free download): how to get it, how to navigate and special features such as a tilted look at the locale and zoom. Gifford’s language is crisp and engagingly friendly as he proceeds to explain the book’s game format, with quizzes and hunts for objects in the illustrations—like historical and geographical incongruities in the places visited—and the gradual accumulation of numbers that will lead to the final destination. The artwork is imposing, great two-page spreads, busy and colorful, in which Ings has drawn the images readers will see on their Google Earth photographs. The single most obvious drawback is that once the various hidden objects have been located and the quizzes have been successfully wrestled to the ground, those critical aspects of the book become moot. But this is overwhelmed by the canny sense of place the book imparts and its encouragement to let Google Earth guide you to other realms (both terrestrial and celestial).Use in conjunction with a conventional atlas, which requires—better yet, allows for—more imagination. (Nonfiction. 8-14)