London: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

London: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
Klay Lamprell
Reviewed by Katie Allen
Lonely Planet
Sat, 01/10/2011

Lonely Planet’s new series of kids’ travel guides, Not for Parents, introduces children aged 8-11 to the cities of London, New York, Paris and Rome by highlighting the most fascinating - creepy, gory, repulsive, quirky - facts about their people and places.

In the London guide, a whistlestop tour offers “everything you ever wanted to know” about the city, taking in the Underground, Banksy, the Great Fire of London and punk fashion along the way. It’s a rollicking mix of photographs, illustrations, cartoons, maps and archive images, liberally sprinkled with pun-tastic speech bubbles (a head on a spike dolefully declares “people treat me like a nobody”; Drake announces to Queen Elizabeth I: “I’ve disocvered the potato!”. She replies: “Thanks Drake, it’s mashing!”).

There’s plenty here to keep the kids occupied - I particularly liked the “eye spy” introduction to the paintings of Hogarth - and also plenty to amuse adults. I had no idea for example, that the grave of a Roman girl was uncovered in the foundations of the Gherkin, nor that the Tube tunnels through plague pits - but then I’m not supposed to be reading this book...

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