'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 28 August 2016

Review: Hello World

You know those books that you see online or on a shelf and you fall into the cover and are simply unable to extricate yourself, you are so intrigued? That's Hello World.

Subtitled A Celebration of Languages and Curiosities, it's doubly difficult to extricate yourself from the interior--a wonderland of imagery and peppered text that causes the eyes to pop in wonder.

Every time I become enchanted by a book like this, I'm reminded of the impact it must have on children, whose brains are far fresher and are so keenly sharpened for fascinating information and imagery. I imagine the impact of such works on kids, and it makes me very happy indeed.

In Hello World, we are taken on a world journey with a people focus. We learn about languages and greetings, coupled with facts and figures, culture and traditions--in a way that's interactive and brilliantly conceived.

Double page spreads reveal parts of the globe--Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia and Oceania, and each map is pock-marked with little lift-the-flap speech bubbles with greetings and linguistic tempters. For example, the tiny islands of Vanuatu have over 100 languages, including a language called Lemerig, which has only two native speakers. The small nation of Papua New Guinea has the world's most prolific set of languages--over 800 of them. Amazing!

Words are spelt phonetically to encourage kids to try their hand at pronouncing each one. They are also written in the alphabet, script or characters of their native language--something that will thoroughly engage children.

The depth and diversity of world languages is breathtaking, and it's so great to have access to this wonder, in a format children will enjoy. Hello World also reveals the amount of people who speak each language, and it's really quite fascinating. Who knew Dumela, spoken in South Africa, has over 10 million speakers?

The illustrations in this book are an absolute treat, with stacks of detail and a gorgeous colour palette. The book's pages are cardboard, to help support the motherlode of lift-the-flaps, and little and not-so-little fingers will enjoy lifting them and peeking underneath for more. 

Educational, entertaining, enlightening, visually enchanting. The way information books should be.

Title: Hello World
Author: Jonathan Litton
Illustrator: L'Atelier Catrtographik
Publisher: 360 Degrees, $29.99
Publication Date: 1 May 2016
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 5 - 10
Type: Picture Book, Lift-the-Flap