Maps of the United Kingdom by Rachel Dixon and Livi Gosling

There is a wide range of thematic atlases for children now, buoyed up by the trend to large format, highly illustrated information books started by Maps

This volume focuses entirely on England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, each spread covering a different region. A small location map in the corner of each shows where each region is in relation to the rest of the UK, a device sorely needed in an age when many children and adults seem to have no clear idea about the overall geography of the UK!

People past and present and interesting facts about local landscapes, industries and culture are highlighted on each spread. There’s a strong focus on local luminaries associated but not necessarily born in each area – women are well represented, people from a variety of ethnic and social backgrounds are present, and thought has been given to including recent and current figures with whom children are likely to be familiar as well more conventional representatives from history. Everyone appears equally, framed in an oval cameo portrait. To give an idea of the variety – in the Scottish Highlands, modern politician Yvette Cooper, Bonnie Prince Charlie and former Doctor Who actor Karen Gillan line up in a row! There are regular references to local food and enchanted forests and, while historic houses are highlighted in many areas (for example, there are lots of castles in Kent!), attention is given to working class history. The Greater Manchester pages include the People’s History Museum, the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, the Rochdale Pioneers Museum (devoted to the co-operative movement) and the Peterloo massacre.

There’s a good index to help pinpoint individual people and places among the crowded pages which will surely be frequently revisited.

Wide Eyed Editions 9781786030252