Leading up to the holiday, the Book Elf’s stock of literature began to run low.  He was browsing at Hicklebee’s and came across a large atlas-like tome simply titled Maps.  Not wanting to be discovered, he clandestinely escaped.  But when he came across the same book again the following day at Paper Source, he knew it was destiny… or a magical sign from the Boss.

Little did the Book Elf know that I am a lover of all maps.  I still regret not having more time in the map room at the Venetian Doge’s Palace.  And I did come up with a reason to buy a map at the Antique Map Shop on Pulteney Bridge in Bath.  I believe there is zero coincidence that Google began with maps on their quest to conquer the world.

And so we are introduced to Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinkski.

This seemed like an excellent choice for the Book Elf to make as Nate struggles with the concepts of time and location.  Specifically we’ve been working on the differences between hotels versus houses… and everywhere versus Hawaii.  In July when we went to Avila Beach, he kept asking me why we had so many houses.  He was of the belief that every hotel we’ve ever visited is just another one of our many “homes.”  *sigh* If only that were true…

While we were in Avila, I also remember going into the bathroom and finding him buck naked with his tiny tushy as he stood on tiptoe in front of the toilet.  He casually looked at me over his shoulder and asked, “Is this Hawaii?”

Nate loves to look at the Maps book and show me where we live and where Granddad lives.  And the location of Hawaii.  Those are his three favorites, followed by the question, “Why I have to find Hawaii?”

I’ve been wondering that myself…

In a nutshell:  Maps is a large format book illustrating 42 countries, the Arctic and Antarctica.  An unremarkable title for a remarkable book.  Someday when I intentionally have coffee table books, this will be one of them.  It’s chockablock full of colorful illustrations on pleasantly thick, matte paper highlighting the many flora, fauna, food, sites, cities, and other cultural tidbits of each country.  Readers can spend hours looking at the continents, each country’s points of interest, and flags.  I haven’t found him yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find Waldo.  This book is utterly splendid and a great way to incentivize your children into proving themselves worthy and capable of exotic overseas travel.

A little research uncovers that the Mizielinski are graphic designers, authors and illustrators from Warsaw, Poland.  One should not expect the book to be entirely accurate or politically correct (one reviewer noted a noticeable lack of famous women depicted for the United States of America).  Given the wealth of information and incredibly detailed drawings and facts, one must cut the authors some slack.

Families can talk about: Where do you live?  Where have you been?  Which countries do you want to visit?  How old do you need to be before you can sit on your bottom in a chair and not touch every mirror in a hotel lobby on such visits?  Which looks like the most exciting place to travel to?  Are the animals and people actually in the water or do the artists have other reasons for drawing them in the oceans?  Why are there only women in bikinis “relaxing on the beach”?  $20 for the first person to find a man in his bathing suit sunbathing.  Do you think people from Kansas want to be known for trailer homes and pigs?


 Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinkski

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