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CHARTING THE WORLD by Richard Panchyk


Geography and Maps from Cave Paintings to GPS

by Richard Panchyk

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-56976-344-5
Publisher: Chicago Review

Historical examples and enrichment activities aplenty partly compensate for dry prose and iffy language in this broad overview of maps and their uses.

In topical chapters, the author covers the development of local and world maps, explains map reading in painstaking detail, covers geophysical features and forces, focuses on New World maps, then closes with considerations of specialized and political uses of maps and (in a cursory way) how satellites have mapped our planet and others. Absent a needed illustration of the prehistoric maps he mentions, there are otherwise color maps or photos on every spread, accompanying barrages of informative observations and facts. Some of these, like a tally of European explorers who “discovered” parts of the Americas and a note that gold rush prospectors encountered “Indians, mountains, deserts, and great rivers” on their way to the gold fields, could have been more sensitively expressed. Aside from a vague invitation to disprove the four-color theorem somehow by coloring a map, the 21 side activities are enlightening and range widely in difficulty without requiring expensive or hard-to-get materials. If readers come away thinking that “graphy” is a Greek word, they’ll also have a clear notion of why maps are worth studying.

A wide-angled survey, but the pictures carry the problematic narrative. (bibliography, online resource list, index; not seen) (Nonfiction. 10-14)