Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review: Children's Atlas of God's World by Craig Froman

I love atlases, maps, and globes.  We have always relied on them as an important part of our homeschool. We enjoy finding places our friends and family are visiting or working, and we look up countries we're learning about in school.  Even though we have a world map and a US map on our dining room wall, we also love a good atlas.  We were very pleased to add the Children's Atlas of God's World to our school shelves.

One of the first things I noticed about the Children's Atlas of God's World is that it is well-made with a sturdy hardcover, and thick glossy pages.  The book  measures  13.5  x 9.75 inches, which makes it very nice to hold in your lap while exploring it with your children.  It's only half an inch thick, so it's not too bulky or heavy to work with. 

As soon as I opened the book itself, I was impressed with the colorful blue and green theme that runs through the book.  It's visually appealing, with sidebar information, large maps, easy to use map grids, and photos of animal, people and places within each of the different countries.  Even though it contains a lot of information about different countries, maps, and photos, it's not too cluttered. You can see its colorful lay-out in this trailer.

I'm thankful that the atlas does NOT begin with an evolutionary history of the world as so many secular atlases do.  Even though this atlas was published by Master Books of New Leaf Publishing Group, and they usually take a young earth viewpoint of creation, this atlas doesn't address young earth or old earth at all.  It does clearly state in several places that God is the Creator of the earth and all the people in it, but it does not place a time-line on that creation. Though I personally agree with their young earth stance, the neutrality of this book should help the atlas appeal to a wider range of Christians.

The atlas is divided up by continent, beginning with North America and South America.  It then covers Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Antarctica. After a 2-page spread on each continent, the individual countries within that continent are discussed.

Not every country of the world is covered, not even every major country.  I was a little disappointed by that, to be honest.  In North America, the three largest countries are covered: Canada, United States of America, and Mexico.  In South America, only Brazil and Bolivia are studied.  In Europe, the authors write about Norway, Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and Russia.  Moving to Africa, readers will only learn about Kenya, Egypt and South Africa.  In Asia, we get to learn about Israel, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Japan, and Malaysia.  The Oceania section covers Australia and New Zealand, and two pages are dedicated to Antarctica.  I know it would be impossible to cover every country and still have a child-sized, manageable book, but I do wish more countries were discussed.  

The book ends with a discussion of biomes of the world, forms of government, holidays around the world, and a glossary of terms.  There is also an atlas at the end that tells you where to find countries in the book, by page, and by grid-reference on the map.

The Children's Atlas of God's World has a few unique features you'll find through out the book.  Whenever you see a flag with a cross on it, you're reading information that applies to Christian history.  If you see a red pin with a number, that means that place you're reading about is pin-pointed on the map.    If a word is highlighted in green, those are also places you can find on the map.  Green flags with letters on them represent sites recognized as cultural heritage locations by UNESCO. There are also biome symbols to identify the habitats of different countries, which can be learned about more at the back of the book. These symbols help you to connect the information you read back to the map, and better understand the countries you're studying.

Overall, I love the atlas.  I do wish it covered more countries, but I love the information provided about the countries it does cover, and I love the format it's presented in.  I definitely recommend it as a lovely resource for Christian families who want to learn more about geography and world cultures.  You can view a preview of the book HERE, just scroll down to the "related downloads" section and click on the preview pdf document.

The Children's Atlas of God's World by Craig Froman is priced at $18.99 by Master Books, though I am sure it can probably be found at a savings from some stores or websites.  It is also available as a digital download separately at $9.99 or at a savings if bought in conjunction with the physical book (at the Master Books website). 

Disclosure:  A copy of this book was provided to me free by New Leaf Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received.

April E.

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