If your reader devours Guinness record books, this compendium of “awesome” places is for him/her. Each page highlights a natural or manmade phenomenon with full color photographs and a short description. Additional facts are highlighted in insets on the page, breaking up the already minimal text into short, easily tolerated amounts for reluctant readers. An “awesomeness” rating of one to five smiley faces is assigned to each feature. (There does not seem to be any identifiable system for the ratings.) Not being content with having the word awesome showing up on each page in the ratings, Claybourne also sprinkles it liberally throughout the book’s text, which for some readers may be overdoing it.
Claybourne includes entries on expected features such as the Grand Canyon, Angel Falls, and the Terra Cotta Army, but she also profiles intriguing entries such as the Glowworm Cave and Burj Khalifa. Readers should question how author Claybourne justifies including supernovas, Saturn’s rings, and other space phenomenon as awesome things “on the planet”; there are six such entries in the “Awesome Natural Wonders” section.
The small format for the book works against its content (5 ¼” x 9 ¼”). It does not allow the photographs to display the truly awe-inspiring proportions and impact of the attractions, especially since the text and insets occasionally intrude upon the feature. However, this book will appeal to those who like to see the superlative examples in the universe created by man or nature and may entice them to do more in-depth reading research in other more substantial nonfiction books.
Recommended by Kathrine Stehman, Librarian