Friday, December 8, 2023

AN ATLAS OF LOST KINGDOMS: Discover Mythical Lands, Lost Cities and Vanished Islands, perfect for your tween lover of fantasy lands

AN ATLAS OF LOST KINGDOMS: Discover Mythical Lands, Lost Cities and Vanished Islands
(illus. Lauren Mark Baldo)
Wide Eyed Editions
$30.00 hardcover, available now

Rating: 5* of five

The Publisher Says: Shortlisted for Children's Travel Book of the Year, Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2023

On this quest around the world, you will discover lost kingdoms, phantom islands, and even legendary continents once sought by explorers but now believed to be mythical.

For centuries, people have dreamed of finding the lost worlds of Atlantis, El Dorado, and the Seven Cities of Gold. As well as shedding light on these famously elusive places, this atlas contains maps and captivating illustrations to illuminate lesser-known destinations, from the lost island of Hy-Brasil to the desert city of Zerzura. You will learn about rich mythologies from different cultures, from the Aztecs to the ancient Britons, from the Greek legends to Japanese folklore.

Most of the places in this book have never been found, but within these pages you will succeed where the adventurers of the past were thwarted. Learn about ancient maps, age-old manuscripts, and cryptic carvings that reveal clues to the whereabouts of these lost kingdoms. The journey will transport you to thoroughly other-worldly places.

From Emily Hawkins—New York Times bestselling author of Oceanology—comes this whimsical blend of myth and history, fact and fantasy. This lavish volume will fire the imaginations of young adventurers everywhere.


My Review
: I was a nerdy kid. Unclutch your pearls, Mary, it's true: I read the Encyclopedia Britannica (1944 edition) the year I was ten. I woulda KILLED for this book back then. It's beautiful:
..and designed in such a way that the graphic-novel/videogame generations will grasp its import immediately. Like any good encyclopedia, my childhood one was stuffed with legends and myths presented in the driest, most academic way possible. This made me more curious than ever to find art that matched, or explained, these places. I think kids now will feel the same way about stories of Ys and Hy-Brasil and Eldorado.

Author Hawkins has the giant gift of being able to make stories concise and still replete with excitement and discovery. Because times have moved on from my Britannica-reading days, I learned more about Ile-Ife than I did back when:
...and am now inspired to look deeper into Yoruba folktales and memories. The inclusion of stories from African cultures is a sign of why I like the way the world is, broadly, headed. More stories and different ones for us all, can only lessen the fear and suspicion that the nattering nabobs of negativism spew at us from every news site.

Even King Arthur, he of Camelot fame, knew the power of spin to change the world.
Anyone on your Booksgiving list who loves the stories and legends of Days of Yore, who has a sensawunda for the imaginary mindscapes of our ancestors, or just love looking at fantastic fantasy-themed art, deserves this to unwrap and savor with the sweet, hot cocoa under the Yule tree.

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