Book Review: DK’s Where on Earth Atlas
Edit: The next post has a link to our helpful Reading Guide for this book. Click here!
Have you seen DK’s Where on Earth Atlas? This book is a keeper! The subtitle is “The World as You’ve Never Seen it Before!”, and wow, that is so true. “But would I use it in my homeschool or small classroom?,” you ask. Good question. And I’ll tell you at the end of this post!
Themes for Each Continent
First, the book itself. Each of the continents have several pages of themes. The continent is drawn in a raised profile across 2 pages for each theme, with detailed illustrations and lots of snippets of information to go along with it.
First we are introduced to all the continent’s Countries and Borders. Lots of color helps separate the names and places. The next 2-page spread brings us to the Landscape. Now we see the same raised map profile, but colored according to how high areas are in relation to sea level. Mountains look raised, even the mountains underneath the ocean.
Fascinating Facts gives a lot of “biggest,” “highest,” “longest,” and “largest” stats. With lots of cool illustrations, of course. A unique part of these pages illustrates all the many time zones on each continent.
The Population pages shows low and high concentrations of population in 2 ways: by the colors used and by how high the illustrations raise up. Tall, dark red spikes show greater populations than flat, white areas. It’s very eye-opening and dramatic, even for the adult reader.
Next, one particularly outstanding natural wonder is explored for each continent. Then comes Famous (usually man-made) Landmarks, where they are drawn on location across the map. Next is Climate, with each bright color illustrating the annual temperatures.
Illustrations & Color
Don’t forget, all the themed pages in DK’s Where on Earth Atlas are also filled with other relevant, cool information. For instance, the climate pages also show major cities, unusual weather patterns, wind patterns, areas where there’s a propensity for cyclones, and more.
The Wildlife pages are on the same raised continent illustration, with each featured animal drawn in detail where it tends to live and accompanied by its name and some quick facts. Of course, this page also identifies biomes with different colors so you can tell what kind of environment each animal prefers.
On the By Night 2-page spread, the raised continent is black and has pockets of light at major cities and similar places, as if you were viewing everything from space. Accompanying information explains why some spots are bright and others are not.
Each inhabited continent follows this pattern, and there are also chapters on the Polar regions (Antarctica & Arctic) and the Oceans (Pacific, Atlantic, & Indian).
The first chapter on the Early Earth is interesting if that matches your world view and includes 6, 2-page spreads.
The Reference section in the back has flags and pertinent facts for 195 countries, followed by a Glossary of geography/landform/weather vocabulary.
Read with a Plan
“But would I sit down and read that to my kids?” you ask. Well, probably not all of it at one sitting. And, yes, without a plan it’s possible this fabulous book could just collect dust on your shelf. A motivated child would read it, and love it, I might add!
But if your child(ren) needs more guidance, look at it this way. There are about 58 2-page spreads. If you were to read from this book once a week, you would need to read about 2 of these 2-page spreads to cover the book in one school year. And it wouldn’t take much time.
With the quality and fascination DK’s Where On Earth Atlas offers, it’s something to seriously consider adding to your stash of geography tools!!
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