Big illustrations that look like garish jumbles resolve as if by magic into views of landforms, wildlife, and cultural treasures when viewed through colored plastic filters.
Using the same gimmick that made Illuminature (2016) and Illuminatomy (2017) eye-catching fare for browsers, this world tour features 10 double-page–spread assemblages in overlaid red, green, and cyan layers. Each main picture encompasses all or part of a continent. Each of these is preceded by a key that identifies 18 items to spot and followed by brief descriptive notes on the designated “cultural highlights” and “natural wonders.” Peering through the three-window viewer tucked into a front pocket isolates single layers: green reveals a map; blue a selection of geographically relevant flora and fauna; red a set of iconic artifacts or buildings. The individual figures, which are done in a heavy, naturalistic style, resemble sophisticated steel engravings and have been pieced together with more of an eye for artistic effect than relative scale or logical arrangement. Moreover, the blue filter is so dark that the scene looks murky through it no matter how bright the lighting, and the notes are afflicted with factual and proofing errors—the Liberty Bell isn’t “a symbol of the fight to end slavery,” and “Columbia” is not a country.
Still, fun to play with despite flaws in design and execution. (Informational novelty. 8-12)