The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid – Dylan Thuras & Rosemary Mosco

Illustrations – Joy Ang

Did you know that the marvellous word ‘chocolate’ came from Mexico’s Aztec language?

Can you imagine living in Mongolia and having someone bring a library to you on the back of a camel?

Whether you want to swim in a lake full of jellyfish, enjoy a swing ride in a cooling tower that’s part of an amusement park in the grounds of a nuclear power plant or take a zip line to school, this book has got you covered.

Because of my love for all things weird and wonderful I particularly enjoyed reading the obscure facts about each country you visit in this book. My favourite was:

Iceland has the world’s only school dedicated to the study of elves.

Although this book has added many experiences to my Bucket List, topping it is a visit (or maybe several hundred) to Coromoto’s Ice Cream Shop in Mérida, Venezuela. “About 60 of the 900 varieties are on sale at any given time.” I’m not sure whether I’d actually enjoy spaghetti flavoured ice cream, but I’d love to be able to say I tried it.

Next you’ll find me in an Austrian library. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (the Austrian National Library) in Vienna has secret passages hidden behind bookcases! I don’t need any more information to sell me on this destination.

The writing style in this book felt like I was listening to a tour guide. At times I can find writing that directly addresses the reader annoying but it worked for me here. I can imagine a young reader trying to picture ten million shrieking bats flying above them in Zambia, then feeling reassured that they’re not on the menu because these bats only eat fruit.

Using size comparisons with objects kids are already familiar with was a great choice. It’s much easier to imagine how huge a blue whale is when you discover it’s longer than two city buses. There’s a good blend of history, culture, geography and mythology in this collection of interesting and quirky destinations.

Joy Ang’s cover illustration was one of the things that drew me to this book in the first place and I really liked the details she incorporated and the different perspectives shown; sometimes I felt I was standing looking across a vista and other times I was granted a bird’s eye view. While I enjoyed seeing all of the people and animals illustrated, some landscapes felt unfinished, e.g., Antarctica’s Blood Falls looked blurry and not that interesting to me, whereas photos of this location made me want to visit. If I read this book with a child I’m sure we’d be Googling photos of each of the locations to continue our exploration.

I managed to snag Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders on Kindle when it was recently discounted and am even more interested in reading it now.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Journey to the World’s Most Mysterious Places

Created by the same team behind Atlas Obscura, the #1 New York Times bestseller that has over 600,000 copies in print in its first year, The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventuruous Kid is a thrillingly imaginative expedition to 100 weird-but-true places on earth. And just as compelling is the way the book is structured – hopscotching from country to country not by location but by type of attraction. For example, visit the site of the Tunguska event in Siberia, where a meteor slammed into the earth in 1908 – and then skip over to the Yucatan, ground zero for the ancient meteor crash that caused the mass extinction of dinosaurs. Then, while in Mexico, tour the fantastical Naica caves, home to crystals ten times larger than the average person – then, turn the page to Vietnam to a cave so vast you  could fly a 747 through it. Illustrated in gorgeous and appropriately evocative full-colour art, this book is a passport to a world of hidden possibilities.

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