“AUNTY, are you done with the book yet?” wails my niece, rolling her eyes exaggeratedly as she waits for me to pass her the beautiful hardcover book in my hand. It’s the Lonely Planet Kids Dinosaur Atlas.

“I loveeee dinosaurs!” I squeal in reply, completely ignoring her plaintive wail. As words like Theropods, Sauropods and Ornithischians begin to consume my attention, I barely notice my niece’s resigned departure as she flounces off into the horizon ­— ok, kitchen — defeated.

Gingerly, I peel open a flap on a page: “...before the dinosaurs.. there were.” Turn to another page and my eyes rest on a dramatic “scene” of “the changing Earth”. Hungrily, I open more pages, devouring all the fascinating dino trivia, images of life-size fossils and fold-out maps. It’s certainly a brilliant concept; one that invites fun interaction between reader and book.

Lonely Planet (LP) is the largest travel guide book publisher in the world. And I for one cannot get enough of their beautiful hardcover travel tomes with their breathtaking photography. The comprehensive pocket-sized guidebooks meanwhile, are heaven-sent, especially on one’s travels.

Recently, I’ve also become a huge fan of their children’s range of books under the Lonely Planet Kids (LP Kids) collection, a child-centric imprint first introduced in 2011 whose aim is to kick-start the love of travelling in the young while opening their eyes ­— and mind — to the amazing world around them.

The combination of astonishing facts, quirky humour and eye-catching imagery is a great recipe for igniting that inherent sense of curiosity that all children possess, in turn inspiring them to discover more about the planet we call home. Every LP book draws on the publisher’s huge team of global experts to help share their unceasing fascination with what makes the world such a diverse and magnificent place.

This year has seen LP Kids highest volume of releases ­— more than 20 titles have hit the shelves, including that awesome Dinosaur Atlas book, which the LP Kids team produced with the help of American paleontologist Dr David Button from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Other great titles to look out for? Check these out!

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Incredible Cabinet of Wonders

Author Joe Fullman

Pages 28 (hardback)

Published by Lonely Planet Kids

Open peculiar doors and fun doors, locked doors and scary doors, for a peek into the forgotten corners of the world’s most famous museums. Explore 12 themed cabinets, from toy makers and monster hunters, to sailors and archaeologists, and discover 100 extraordinary objects from our planet’s weird and wonderful past and present.

For this book, the LP team approached 50 museums from around the world and asked what their weirdest and strangest exhibit was. By the time they completed the compilation of items, they discovered that the artefacts actually fell into specific themes. From there, the team proceeded to create virtual cabinets for the artefacts to “live” in.

COOL FACTOR: 5/5

Verdict A true collector’s item! This book is simply riveting and bursts with exciting and weird surprises. Just like an inquisitive child, you won’t be able to resist peeling open the flaps and waiting in anticipation to see what wonderful surprises lie beyond. Remember those advent calendars with “windows” that, when opened, revealed an image, a poem, or a small gift? The one that counted down to Christmas and delighted children so? Well, this is better. Much, much

better.

Dinosaur Atlas

Authors Anne Rooney, James Gilleard

Pages 32 (Hardback)

Published by Lonely Planet Kids

Travel back over 200 million years to a time when dinosaurs roamed all over the world from the Americas to Antarctica. Unfold the maps and lift the flaps to reveal amazing facts about how they lived and where they were discovered. Then learn about the people who unearthed them and see how you measure up against some amazing life-sized photographs.

COOL FACTOR: 4/5

Verdict Super interactive, eye-catching layout that really does pop, and an amazing collection of trivia to devour. You’ll definitely become a dino expert after journeying through this fabulous book.

How Animals Build

Authors Moira Butterfield and Tim Hutchinson

Pages 24 (Hardback)

Published by Lonely Planet Kids

Get ready to explore the incredible world of animal architects. Lift the flaps and open gatefolds to discover amazing animal homes up high, underground, on land and under the sea. From spider’s webs and rabbit warrens, to bird’s nests and ant colonies, the secrets to these extraordinary structures and how they are constructed are revealed. The book was created in consultation with Michael Leach, a wildlife author, speaker, photographer and filmographer.

COOL FACTOR: 4/5

Verdict Easy to read, plenty to digest, attractive illustrations and plenty of features that invite interaction, this is another great book that young kids will enjoy leafing through on their own or with their parents (or adults). Again, there’s much in here that even adults will gape at a fabulous window into nature’s architects.

The Animal Book

Author Ruth Martin

Pages 164 (Hardcover)

Published by Lonely Planet Kids

Here’s the chance to walk on the wildside through every continent on Earth! Leaf through the pages of this beautiful “encyclopedia” that features over 100 incredible creatures and discover the animal kingdom like never before. Kids ­— and big kids — will enjoy discovering some of the world’s most diverse and fascinating mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and invertebrates; from those they can spot in their backyard to more endangered species in jungles, deserts and freezing oceans. There’s also the chance to learn about conservation efforts and how to help protect wildlife and the planet.

COOL FACTOR: 4/5

Verdict Packed with so much amazing facts and eye-catching illustrations and photos, this is another book you’ll want to keep — and keep going back to. Much like you would a dictionary or, err, an encyclopedia! You’ll become an expert on the animal world in no time!

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