Not For Parents: Australia: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know


Not For Parents: Australia: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know



Guidebooks are something I am picky about.  After backpacking my way around Asia and wasting my time and money on other guidebooks, I realized that Lonely Planet books were the best.  They are the most knowledgeable about interesting nooks and crannies in any and all destinations; the photographs are like fantastic invitations daring you to visit.  You can’t go wrong.

When I found out that Lonely Planet was branching out from guidebooks to more informative books claiming to have the “inside scoop” on specific countries or cities, I was intrigued.  It makes sense to branch out, especially given the huge and impressive amount of information and photographs that they have at their fingertips.  

This Not For Parents: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know series includes four countries (Australia, Great Britain, China, and the U.S.A.) and four cities (London, New York, Paris, Rome).  They are available in a set or individually.  They are best suited for middle school and high school aged kids.  I know that’s a broad range, but there is something in here for everyone, and the pictures and facts are so fascinating that you could easily put this book on a shelf, let it gather a bit of dust, then pick it up and become completely absorbed in it all over again.  

The Australia book is great—if you don’t want to travel there after flipping through the pages and reading a handful of stories and gazing at the beautiful weather, terrain and people…I’m not sure what destinations would interest you! 

Some sort of groundwork is best before opening the pages of this book.  The entire book lacks flow and depth, so being somewhat familiar with the country will help you and your child.  The team at Lonely Planet has an amazing array of great facts and informative snippets to pile onto whatever basic knowledge you have before opening the book.

This book does a lot really well:

•    It is engaging.  Many of the pictures of old-timey Australia resemble the Wild West past of the United States, making part of Australia somewhat familiar.  Enter the photographs and stories on the wildlife and terrain, and you’ve got exotic and new.  This combination of familiar and new is great for kids, and makes the book a page turner.

•    It is digestible.  For better or for worse, this is not a history book with pages of paragraphs providing in-depth information.  Each “chapter” is just a double-page spread with 5-12 photos packed in.  Some examples: Phar Lap (Australia’s greatest horse), footy and koalas.

•    It teaches the culture.  Lonely Planet guidebooks excel at their ability to show who the people are, what belief systems they have and how the country has evolved.  Exploring culture is the best part of traveling, I think.  The chapter on the relationship between the Europeans and native aborigines is one example.

•    It points to where you can get more information.  I am a self-professed nerd, and always want more information when I’m immersing myself into something or some place.  At the end of each chapter is a website for more details about that subject.  

Overall, this is a great book to own and to give.  Lonely Planet was smart to branch out, though their guidebooks will always be the best of what they do.  If you are considering this book as a gift, I recommend throwing in a good map and a novel or two on Australian history and heritage.

Not For Parents: Australia: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

By Lonely Planet

Random House   

Price: Available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books a Million! for approximately $16; set of four for $29.

Easy to Read  5
Quality of Illustrations
Appealed to Both Boys and Girls  5
Kept My Child(ren)’s interest  5
I Would Purchase This For My Family yes
I would Purchase This As A Gift  yes
 Overall Rating

All ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being highest.

Meet the Reviewer!

Kate Schwarz is a full-time mom

and wife living in Great Falls, VA. 

In addition to reading to her three

small hildren, Kate runs marathons,

Crossfits, and blogs about raising

kids with books at



About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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