Children's Book of the Month: The Picture Atlas

The Picture Atlas Book Jacket
Category: Reading

Book: The Picture Atlas by Simon Holland; illustrated by Jill Calder | Age category: 8-11

Which country was the first to make a chocolately drink from the cacao tree? How much water rushes over Niagra Falls every second? How much of the world is covered by rainforests? The Picture Atlas, written by Simon Holland and illustrated by Jill Calder, answers these questions and many more as it takes children on an exciting journey around the world.

Each area of the world is visited in turn with a beautiful illustrated spread of the region, highlighting native animals and landmarks, followed by a spread giving more information about that region, including wildlife, history and culture. There are even additional articles focusing on fun topics like European Food to relate to children's experiences and promote discussion.

Simon Holland's accessible narrative and interesting facts are brought to life by Jill Calder's vibrant and stunning illustrations. Hear more from Jill, including some amazing facts from the book, in our Q&A below.


Enter our competition to win one of 5 copies of The Picture Atlas!


Q&A with Jill Calder

Which country or continent did you most enjoy illustrating and why?

Antarctica! I've never been there but during the period I was illustrating this part of The Picture Atlas my scientist husband was actually ON Antarctica for three months researching krill. His experience there (and being shipwrecked during a blizzard!) brought the place alive for me and I was able to use his videos and stories as reference for my illustration work. There's an abundance of wildlife there and a very unique way of life for the researchers and scientists who spend time working on the various international bases - some of which, like British base Halley, have amazing buildings too. It was great to bring that contemporary element of Antarctica to life, as well as feature some the famous explorers from past to present, such as Shackleton and Ann Daniels, to inspire the next generation of Antarctic expeditioners! Plus, who doesn't love drawing penguins?


Can you tell us your favourite interesting fact from the book?

Why have one fact when you can have three? When drawing Eastern Russia for The Picture Atlas, I found out that Lake Baikal is home to the only freshwater seal in the world- the rotund and furry Lake Baikal Seal! Also, in Cameroon, I discovered the most beautifully designed and decorated houses made entirely by hand by the Musgum people- they are works of art! Finally, Dragon Blood trees on the Yemeni island of Socotra have bright red sap - I wonder if you could use it to draw with…?


Do you have any tips for budding young illustrators?

LOOK, DRAW, READ, and then draw some more. Illustration is about noticing the world around you and the way it works, in particular the things that really interest you. My advice is to really LOOK at these things, study them, notice the details and then DRAW them, from life if possible. Find out more about these things that interest you by READING about them- amazing books, magazines, blogs, and newspapers - learn as much as you can. Keep drawing, drawing the stories and ideas that come into your head. Practice those things that you find difficult to draw (hands? cats? cars?) because that's the only way you'll get better at drawing them. Keep looking, drawing, reading and learning and you'll develop the skills to be a great illustrator.



We have 5 copies of The Picture Atlas to be won! To be in with a chance of winning one, just answer the question below. The competition closes on Tuesday 31 October 2017 at 5pm. All entrants must reside in the UK.

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