- Littleland Around the World
- written and illustrated by Marion Billet
- published by Nosy Crow (Candlewick Press) (2014)
- Roar Score: 4/5
This is the second in what will presumably be a series of books set in Littleland, “a very busy place indeed.” Both books follow 10 friends and are designed to be first picture books for very young children.
The text simulates conversational speech and is meant to help young kids build their vocabulary with practical new words. The illustrations are filled with small details for little eyes to discover. Each spread even encourages kids to look deeper by including specific “Can you see…?” look-and-find objects.
In short, it’s very reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s Busytown books, which I have incredibly fond memories of from when I was a kid.
This new title follows the Littleland friends as they travel around the world. I’m a sucker for books that try to cultivate little travelers, so this one immediately appealed to me.
Each spread focuses on a different country, and the look-and-find objects are mostly relevant to that country. A nice touch is including the country’s flag in each illustration.
The book travels to 14 different countries, but we spend a lot of time in Europe. The first 6 stops are European countries. After that, we go on a whirlwind tour of everyplace else. I was pleasantly surprised to see 2 African destinations represented (Egypt and Kenya), though that’s 2 countries out of 54. We then make 3 stops in Asia before hopping to Australia, Brazil, and the United States.
It would’ve been nice to see more Central and South American countries represented, but I recognize that children’s books—especially ones that target the youngest readers—have their limitations. All the same, the absence of ANY Spanish-speaking countries is somewhat jarring, especially in the U.S. market.
Unfortunately, the images captured for each country play a bit on stereotypes, but I’m not so sure that’s a fault of this book specifically or indicative of something much larger. As it is, Kenya = animals; India = Taj Mahal; China = dragons and festivals; and so on. Of course.
However, the art here is adorable, and I can see us returning to this book just to explore the details some more.
If you’re a fan of look-and-find books or Richard Scarry, or if you have a budding explorer on your hands, this is solid pick. You might want to supplement your bedtime “world travels” with other books, though.
(Thanks to Candlewick Press who provided The Roarbots with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)