An attractive lift-the-flap book encourages children to learn about the world and its languages.
The book is positively festooned with flaps of varying sizes placed on maps. Most small flaps present the word for “hello” in the country or region it is placed upon; beneath are its phonetic pronunciation, the language name, and the number of speakers. Many double-page spreads are continental maps. The first spread features a world map with 10 widely spoken languages labeled, and the last shows this map again, with “good-bye” in these same languages along with several more beneath two large flaps. Unfortunately, the maps don’t include country names. Some places where languages matter are omitted; for example, the country of Belgium, with its French and Flemish speakers, doesn’t appear. There is a chart with eight major languages spoken in the U.S. There is no indication that English is the official language of Ghana and Nigeria, although the flap on Mali says that French is the official language in 25 African countries. Observant readers can search the continental maps for small people, generally pictured in traditional clothing with the retro look of old children’s atlases; the United States is represented by a white football player and Canada by a white voyageur, a white lumberjack, and a parka-clad Inuk.
Despite its flaws, an intriguing stab at bringing people of the world closer. (Informational novelty book. 7-11)