Travel books for kids

By Alex Robertson

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Alex Robertson reviews two Lonely Planet titles aimed at the younger members of the family.

The Real Wonders of the World

The series is called Not For Parents, but I couldn't help myself. I mean, it's not every day you can get your kids excited about the same stuff as you.

Sure, you can get them pretty worked up about a week in Fiji where they get to play on the beach, mess around in the pool, eat too many icecreams and stay up way too late.

But when it comes to sight-seeing and getting a bit of culture, well, you might as well suggest they do an extra three weeks at school over the Christmas holidays.

So, here it is in a book format: learning about really cool stuff in different countries, like really tall buildings, amazing caves, fabulous art, historic cities and monuments, and more.

There are eight chapters with headings like "Stupendous Structures", "Hidden Places" and "Thrills, Spills and Games" that present places and things from our planet over a spread, each one from a different destination. It's presented in a graphic format with lots of cut-outs and cut-aways, fact boxes and funky design.

There are also handy links to discover more online.

How to be a Dinosaur Hunter

I was so excited about this book, another title in the Not For Parents series. When I was a kid I loved Triceratops and used to stage to-the-death battles with plastic models with my buddy, who loved Tyrannosaurus rex.

Only now do I understand that dinosaurs don't really grab the imagination of most eight-year-old girls, but that's okay - I'm not really into One Direction.

I think this book is probably aimed at ages 10 and above, as there's a lot of information, long words and reasonably complex ideas about fossilisation, stratigraphy, geologic eras and genus classification.

Again, the presentation is bang-on for kids with heaps of illustrations.

What is really cool is that even the biggest dinosaur fan's parents will discover something new, so you can keep up the enthusiasm. You get the feeling that the authors have really researched this and may even have been involved in digs themselves.

Imagine somebody asking you about your kids in the future: "How's Hugo? What's he up to?"

You can reply, "Oh, he's in Montana digging up old bones as part of his master's!"

- NZ Herald

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