The World Book

Welbeck. Oct. 2021. 208p. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781913519476.
Gr 3-6–This beautifully illustrated book is the perfect introduction for young geographers and budding map-lovers. Systematically covering 199 countries spanning the entire globe, it provides a brief but enticing introduction to the world. Organized by continent, the placement of entries after that is somewhat puzzling as it’s not in any discernible order. However, individual countries can be located by utilizing the table of contents. The entries range in size from quarter page for countries smaller in population and size to full spreads for entities with larger populations. More space is dedicated to places that have had a larger role in current events and on the world stage. Each country is briefly introduced and accompanied by a text box with its flag and key facts (size, capital, population, currency, language). Appropriate for the intended audience, the text mostly focuses on the positive attributes of each country. While recent conflicts are briefly mentioned, little context is provided on the more complex nuances of current events in war-torn countries, such as Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and others. Additional fun facts about the countries explain oddities, trivia, or special features unique to each. These are illustrated by small but realistically detailed cartoon images. There is an error in the listing of St. Vincent and the Grenadines—the capital is incorrectly listed as Castries, the capital of neighboring St. Lucia. This book is similar in format to Gabrielle Balkan’s The Fifty States.
VERDICT While not containing enough detail for any report, this gorgeous book is perfect for poring over while stretched out on a comfy bed or sprawled on the floor.

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