After spying Maps at a boutique bookshop in NYC this spring, I knew this lovely children's atlas must become part of our family. Maps is decidedly NOT your parents' atlas. With only 52 countries, it wouldn't be considered comprehensive, but oh, the countries presented are a visual treat. Each country is introduced with the cultural bit and pieces that make it stand out in the world. For example, Germany pictures The Brothers Grimm, the Bauhaus building, the Mercedes-Benz museum, various castles, Kant, Gutenberg, Beethoven, a beer stein, and a slew of other German-identifying people, animals, places, and things.
The Mizielinskis have created an amazing niche with their Maps book. The artwork is simple, yet sophisticated, modern, and while each page is loaded with information (capital, language, population, among the other pictured items) the pages are perfectly balanced and manage to avoid chaos. The colors are muted but competently utilized. Cooler tones tend to represent Russian and the northern European countries, warmer tones are featured in South American and African countries. Scattered with charming illustrations and delightful insights, this is truly a perfect first atlas for children.