by Marc Martin – Penguin/Viking, 2016
ages 2 to adult / coffee table, diversity, s.o.s.e., s.t.e.m.
Situating ourselves in the world is an ongoing and tricky task—although it gets a little easier as we age and become less centred on our own experience. But it's worth the effort.
When we have a sense of people around the world living lives that are at once commonplace and extraordinary, we more easily see the value in their lives and in our own ordinary-extraordinary life.
Lots is wonderful for this—for situating diverse people in their everyday lives.
Each page is a visual feast showcasing a single city or region and the things it has ‘lots’ of.
There’s Antartica, the Galapagos, Ulannbaatar (capital of Mongolia), Rio de Janeiro, New York, and 10 more cities or regions to spark imagination, questions and wanderlust!
In the midst of all the wonders of the world it’s easy to forget the parts that make up the whole and Lots is fantastic for laying them out.
It showcases things like vending machines in Tokyo, moustaches of all shapes and sizes in New Delhi and stray dogs in Moscow.
It details where we live our lives, where we’ll come to appreciate and respect others, and where we’ll find fascinations to last a lifetime.
Lots is about the things that connect us as much as it is about the uniqueness found in each city.
Every page is a mix of the familiar and the exotic. In Cairo for example, we find cats and taxis mixed with shisha pipes and minarets.
Lots will spark dreams of travel, remembrances of past experiences and a yearning to know more about cities and people—all good places for young minds to go!
There are lots of reasons to love this book, like:
The folky and still modern pictures that seem to convey the essence of the cities and regions.
The slightly offbeat collection of facts—there are things you always knew, eg geothermal pools are a hit in Reykjavik (the capital of Iceland) + things that are new, eg they love liquorice in Iceland! I’d fit right in.
The mix of cities and natural environments—moving freely between people and the natural world lends value to both. They’re both captivating after all.
The many small details that help readers feel like they're stepping into another life: the fellow chowing down on Dim Sums, the trio of bicycle couriers, people everywhere at Shibuya crossing—all living ordinary-extraordinary lives.
And the busy-ness to each page that reflects the cities or regions and gives a sense of crowdedness.
Some reading thoughts you might find helpful:
Lots works nicely as an ‘I Spy” book—there are plenty of options on each page for little ones—and for older children, try playing it with the whole book. Also, a world map is handy to have close by for the first couple of times you read it. (Click on the images in this post for expanded views in lightbox, it's 'lots' of fun.)
It’s interesting to prompt thoughts about the things that we have lots of, things that seem everyday to us but might define our home to others. (Snow, rain, spiders, buses, schools, cameras …)
Lots is great for reading across generations—even the most studied geography lover will find new, forgotten, or surprising facts.
For other wonderful books about lots of things, you might like to visit these posts: