Travel guide books for kids

Reviewed for you by young travellers themselves.

Not For Parents: Great Britain – Everything You Ever Wanted To Know

(Lonely Planet, $19.99)

Little kid’s review: “This book was really funny because Great Britain had old names, long names, rude names and just plain silly names. Ha ha!” – Toby #1

Score: 4 out of 5

Big kid’s note: The Not For Parents series (including Rome, South America, China, New York…) are pitch-perfect in their cheeky approach to destinations, exploring the quirky, oozy and downright funny bits of each destinations’ past to make them completely compelling now.

The Travel Book

By Michael Dubois, Katri Hilden and Jane Price (Lonely Planet, $29.99)

Little kid’s review: “This book was excellent but it needs more facts.” – Mioh

Score: 5 out of 5

Big kid’s note: Grouped together by continent, this hefty book dedicates a page per country to all manner of weird and wonderful factoids, from how Bosnians drink their coffee (they dip sugar cubes into the liquid and eat them) to Scottish inventions (television, telephones, finger-printing, golf, tyres and penicillin) to the official language of São Tomé & Príncipe (Portuguese).

New York City

By Paula Hannigan and Shannon Chandler (accord publishing, $16.95)

Little kid’s review: “It’s a good way to find out about New York City. I learned a lot from it.” – Gabriel

Score: 5 out of 5

Big kid’s note: This illustrated pop-up cleverly journeys through the cityskyline page by page, with interesting facts on New York City along the way. There are some cute postcards in the back too.

Madeline and the Cats of Rome

By John Bemelmans Marciano (Penguin Books, $16.95)

Little kid’s review: “I especially liked that it all rhymed, and I liked the pictures.” – Alexandra

Score: 5 out of 5

Big kid’s note: Written by the grandson of Madeline’s creator Ludwig Bemelmans, the rhyming text is compelling for children to read while the misadventures of this most quintessential of French schoolgirls, set against a backdrop of The Forum, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, are giggle-out-loud fun.

Ruby Red Shoes Goes To Paris

By Kate Knapp (HarperCollins, $19.99)

Little kid’s review: “I liked this book because it was easy to understand and the pictures were helpful.” – Toby #2

Score: 4 out of 5

Big kid’s note: This gorgeous little illustrated book weaves some of the slightly less obvious Parisian attractions (like the Rodin Museum, the ornate doors and food markets) into its cute storyline, so that the city becomes an experience rather than just a roll-call of attractions. (The heroine even does an airbnb-style home-stay!)

Venice: A Three- Dimensional Expanding City Guide

By Sarah McMenemy (Walker Books, $12.95)

Little kid’s review: “I loved how there were facts on why Venice was named Venice.” – Josie

Score: 4 out of 5

Big kid’s note: These compact fold-out guides (the series includes countries, cities and specific destinations such as the Louvre) are the perfect way to put the little ones in charge of the map while on holidays, as they can seek out sites based on the cute 3D images they are holding in their hands.

This Is Hong Kong

By Miroslav Sasek (Universe Publishing, $18.50)

Little kid’s review: “I loved the facts in this book and the colourful illustrations were very nice.” – Ruby

Score: 5 out of 5

Big kid’s note: One of the classic This Is books, the illustrations are not all that contemporary but they are colourful and totally charming. The text, which has been updated in places in the interest of correctness (including things like population figures), serves as much as a history lesson of the city as a guide.

How To Be A World Explorer

By Joel Levy and James Gulliver Hancock (Lonely Planet, $24.99)

Little kid’s review: “This book was wonderful because of the drawings and I think the facts were interesting.” – Ruby

Score: 4 out of 5

Big kid’s note: Eschewing specific destinations, this guide is more of a manual on how to survive absolutely any eventuality while travelling, with practical advice (how to find water in the desert), useful facts (navigating by the stars), unusual tips (how to build an igloo) and some truly gross bits (extreme first aid).

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This article appeared in issue 13


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