A liberally illustrated tongue-in-cheek guide to maps and geography delivers solid information and intriguing facts.
Trivia master Jennings, Jeopardy winner and writer of popular adult books including Maphead (2011), will engage his middle-grade audience with this witty, pleasingly solid introduction to geography. With humor, careful choice of facts, and a clear, familiar organization, he leads readers from the basic workings of the Earth (shape, time zones, latitude and longitude) to the geographical fascination of unusual U.S. place names. Chapters follow the arrangement of a typical school day, with a series of subject-based class periods (among them “The Earth from Space,” “Maps and Legends” and “The Watery Part of the World”) interrupted by recess, art, lunch and music. It all culminates in a final exam and follow-up homework. There are pop quizzes along the way, with coded answers and occasional informational boxes of “extra credit.” Subheads announce the topics of each short section, and sketched maps, charts and lists as well as Lowery’s cartoonlike drawings interrupt the narrative, making the reading appear totally accessible. It will delight middle-grade fact lovers, who will want to go on to learn about Greek Mythology (publishing simultaneously; 978-1-4424-9849-5), U.S. Presidents (coming in May 2014) and more.
You don’t have to be a certified Junior Genius to enjoy this entertainingly presented introduction. (Nonfiction. 8-11)