Not For Parents: Great Britain: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know


Not For Parents: Great Britain: 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 Great Britain book is great—you can learn dozens of fascinating facts about a country that kids could easily believe is quite similar to the United States.  After flipping through this book and simply looking at the pictures, let alone reading the accompanying descriptions, kids will be able to teach you how different we are, despite the connection at our roots.  The team at Lonely Planet has an amazing array of great facts and informative snippets to pile onto whatever basic knowledge—hopefully at least a little—you have before opening the book.

This book does a lot really well:

•    It is engaging.  The photographs in this book are fantastic, and draw in readers of all ages.  The short blurbs next to the photographs are bite-sized bits of information complement the pictures and, like a magazine, keep the reader turning the pages to see what crazy pictures are on the next page.  

•    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: Charles Dickens, the royal family, history of tea, the Beatles.

•    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 tradition of wearing outlandish hats 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.  

Lonely Planet edits history, as is necessary for a volume such as this.  The authors at Lonely Planet have the right to pick and choose what should be included or left out.  I found it interesting that there was a chapter dedicated to curry.  While I was curious to learn read about turmeric, cinnamon, fenugreek, anise, and other great flavorings, I was surprised that there was no mention of why Great Britain became acquainted with curry: namely, colonialism.  This might be something to talk about with older readers.

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 British, Irish, and/or Scottish history and heritage.

Not For Parents: Great Britain: 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




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