National Geographic Kids Beginner’s United States Atlas

by National Geographic Kids

After getting oriented to maps and their symbols, and finding out that there are two kinds of map (physical and political), readers are ready to explore the District of Columbia. Then, they move on to the rest of America, divided into five sections and the Territories. Each group begins with a spectacular spread—a color photo of a typical landscape and one of a picturesque native animal—then offers a clear, easy-to-read map and smaller photos of special interest. Essential facts are provided: date of statehood, flag, population, bird, and flower. The Northeast is New England south to Maryland; especially vivid in this presentation is Maine, with its quirky coastline and a bright red lobster. Next comes the Southeast (Atlantic and Gulf coasts to Kentucky and Tennessee), with lush foliage and water features. Here, North Carolina gets credit for the first powered flight; the featured bird is a flamingo. The Midwest, spreading from Ohio and Michigan to the Dakotas, is characterized by agriculture and wildlife, although state climates and urban (e.g., Chicago, Detroit) and rural landscapes differ greatly. While four states make up the Southwest region, they have a veritable monopoly on deserts, gorgeous rock formations, and tribal reservations. The Northwest section includes both Alaska and Hawai’i, thus offering the greatest diversity from icy slopes to tropical volcanoes and varying from wide, open spaces to sophisticated San Francisco. A final spread shows U.S. territories from Puerto Rico to the Pacific Islands, including Guam and the Marianas. This well-organized, lavishly illustrated atlas (with its moderate price) would be an asset to any classroom or a welcome gift for a geographically-minded young reader. Includes a glossary, an index, and postal codes.

Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft