Friday, February 1, 2019

The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide For The World's Most Adventurous Kid - Dylan Thuras & Rosemary Mosco (Illus. Joy Ang)

Summary:  Embark on the journey of a lifetime!  Join Atlas Obscura on a thrilling, beautifully illustrated expedition to 100 of the most astonishing places around the globe.  Hopscotch from country to country in a chain of connecting attractions:  Explore Mexico's glittering cave of crystals, then visit the world's larest cave in Vietnam.  Or peer over a 355 foot-waterfall in Zambia, then learn how Antarctica's Blood Falls got its mysterious color. As you climb mountains, zip-line over forests, and dive into oceans, use this book as your passport to a world of hidden possibilities.  Time to pack your bags!  (Summary from book - Image from

Note: There are two versions of Atlas Obscura - one for adults and another edition written especially for children that has a formidably long name (The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid). I refuse to type it more than is necessary and I just hit my daily limit, so for the purpose of this review, I will call this book simply Atlas Obscura.  

My ReviewAtlas Obscura is an absolute treasure. I found it sitting on the new arrival shelf of the library and snapped it up in a hot millisecond, fairly certain that at least one of my kid's would be all over it.  I wasn't wrong.  In fact, three of my children (ages 6, 8, and 13) have been fairly consumed with it since I brought it home.  (My 15-year-old is currently being not-so-quietly crushed by a mountain of homework, so her disinterest shouldn't really be held against the book).  While my thirteen-year-old has taken to reading it on her own, Atlas Obscura has put some extra adventure in our bedtime routine as I read a few pages of it every night to my two youngest.  Why only a few pages each night?  Well, the reason we read it in bits was because with each adventurous location my children clamored for a virtual tour, be it with pictures or video.  Now if I were being forced to look up Dora the Explorer factoids, this might be something akin to torture, but the fact of the matter is that most of the places I was reading to the kids about I had no idea existed I was just as fascinated and eager to find out more as my children.  Here's a long but not-entirely-comprehensive list:

  • Antarctica's Blood Waterfall 
  • Etheopia's lava lakes 
  • The giant crystal caves of Niaca, Mexico
  • The Hanging Temple of Hengshan, China
  • A 10,000-year clock being built deep in the Texas mountains
  • Norway's Forests of the Future library (this one was particularly cool)
  • The Waitomo glowworm caves of New Zealand 
  • A 97-foot tall, 80-room tree house in Tennessee
  • The living bridges of Cherrapunji, India
  • A secret apartment in the Eiffel Tower 
  • The mysterious geoglyphs in Peru and Australia, 
  • Columbia's rainbow-colored river
  • The micronation of Ladonia located on a beach in Sweden
  • Namibia's fairy circles, 
  • The mobile library of Mongolia
  • Moroccan tree goats
  • The musical stones of Gobustan, Azerbaijan
And honestly, so so so much more. The girls and I traveled to sunken cities, white deserts, and spaceship graveyards.  We met self-mummifying munks (okay, I didn't look that one up), toured incredible libraries and underwater art museums, stayed in salt-made hotels, hit up some hot dinosaur dance parties, and even uncovered a 2,000 year old computer.  The adventures just kept coming.

Of course, we didn't actually go to all these places.  Each page was easy to read, offering up a few facts and a new, bizarre place to visit.  We'd read about each location and then look it up. Read about another one.  Look it up.  And so on.  My only criticism is more of a heartfelt wish -- I wish it came with QR codes on each page that led me to a site where I could learn more about each location.  That would have just made my life a little easier (and you know I'm all about that), but honestly, it was well worth our time.  Like many families, we aren't really financially able to visit many of these places right now (though Bike Tree in WA, here we come!), but I love that my children were able to uncover a little bit of the ahhhhh-inspiring and awe-inspiring world they live in.  Hopefully, they learned that there is a whole wide world of amazing waiting for them to explore.   I know I sure did.

My Rating: 5 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  There were occasional crypts, mummies, and graveyards.  The illustrations themselves weren't scary, but those who might decide to look them up on the internet might find some fairly graphic images. I may or may not know this from personal experience. 


Jordan @ForeverLostinLiterature said...

This sounds awesome! I know a lot of kids (and myself, let's be honest) that would love this. Definitely going to check it out--great review!

MindySue said...

I hope you like it! It's a fun way to travel vicariously!


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