Pop-Up Paris, by Andy Mansfield; Lonely Planet Kids, $9.99, 8 pages, ages 3-6.
When readers can’t travel, well-crafted pop-ups offer wonderful opportunities to learn about the world around them. Lonely Planet Kids, an imprint of parent company Lonely Planet, recently launched three children’s pop-up books to coincide with its line of family-friendly tour guides and on-the-go activity books.
The first in the series, Pop-Up Paris, is a charming introduction to six must-see, kid-friendly sites in the City of Light, from the Pompidou Center to a tower of sugary macarons. Short on textual detail, the book is clearly geared towards a pre-k through first grade readership, providing a snippet of information to inspire children to learn more about the topic at hand. Hyper-pigmented illustrations, bordering on neon, are hip without pretense. In short, this is a book that knows it’s fun.
Easy to tote, easy to read, the Lonely Planet Kids Pop-Ups series has found a way to hook young explorers on the richness of traveling, even from the comfort of home.
Check out a 30-second video highlighting all three titles here.
The Whale, by Ethan Murrow and Vita Murrow; Candlewick Press, 32 pages, $17.99.
It’s puzzling that the world’s largest mammals are also the most difficult to see, yet the thrill to observe them has gripped the minds of ocean-goers for centuries. In this mostly wordless picture book by debut author-illustrator duo Ethan and Vita Murrow, a pair of intrepid youngsters set out to prove the existence of the Great Spotted Whale, a mysterious beast sighted fifty years ago, but never confirmed. Readers have no choice but to dive right in alongside the plucky voyagers as they gather all sorts of equipment, ready their vessel, and after capsizing their boat, finally lay eyes on the magnificent animal.
Ethan Murrow’s graphite black-and white illustrations are meticulously rendered, evoking the gray, salty sea-spray-covered ocean landscape and all the flotsam therein. The Whale celebrates a quixotic accomplishment with an amazing tale that radiates youthful energy, and should be part of any explorer’s library. Here’s hoping the Murrows set their sights on another project soon, and invite us along their next great adventure.