Scholastic Atlas of the World

Scholastic, August, 2001.
Hardcover, 224 pages.
ISBN: 0439087953
Ages 9-12

Scholastic Atlas of the World by The Scholastic Atlas of the World belongs in every school library, classroom and family library, because it is simply the very best that either an elementary school student or a teacher could use. The excellence of this atlas lies in its simplicity and in its scope. Most atlases that the elementary-aged child encounters are visually confusing, and therefore uninteresting. As a matter of fact, this atlas will be equally interesting to the adult with a more than casual interest in some particular place on the planet. Some atlases are such a mass of place names that physical properties of an area are hard to discern. Unless one is making a road trip, atlases made for adults are boring and uninteresting simply because physical and political maps are combined on one page. The result is less than helpful.

Scholastic has come up with a very easy to use atlas that fits the elementary school curriculum in every possible way. First, its size is manageable. Some of the atlases purchased for school library and classroom use are large and difficult to use. This atlas is a comfortable 12 by 9.5 inches and is fairly light weight. It addresses the problem of visual confusion by combining physical maps with just a few of the names of major cities and land forms. The detailed introduction explains how maps developed and how the problem of showing a spherical planet on a flat plane is addressed. Also helpful are the explanations of the constantly changing physical aspects of our lively planet and how the earth came to be in its present form.

One of the most useful features of the Scholastic Atlas of the World is that all the countries are shown as they relate to the United States. Time zones, distances and other important facts are shown in reference to what the student already knows about his own country. Essays about the culture and geography illustrated by photographs give an excellent portrait of the country being studied. Interesting facts help the student extend his research under the "Discover More" sections and the "Search and Find" index makes locating important cities and capitals fast and easy. This atlas is an excellent choice for the school library, classroom bookshelf and for the family library as well. Older members of the family will also find it enjoyable and useful.

--Sarah Reaves White

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This review was published in the February, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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