In 2002 Nestle ran an advertising campaign for Yorkie, a chunky milk chocolate bar available almost exclusively in the UK, with the tagline “It’s Not For Girls”. It immediately stirred up controversy but, as Nestle hoped, sales increased dramatically (30% in the first 12 weeks) and a large proportion of those were female. No doubt many were curious to see what was so special about the macho chocolate.
So when I received two books, Australia, Everything you ever wanted to know and Great Britain, Everything you wanted to know, from guidebook publisher Lonely Planet with “Not For Parents” stamped across the front I immediately wanted to open it. I ignored the warning and checking that there were no children around to see me reading I surreptitiously took a peek, first in one and then the other book.
I am old enough to be a grandfather so it is likely I would only see it through the eyes of someone much older than the books were intended for. So, before I reviewed them I handed them over to two children and asked them to tell me what they thought. Here’s what they said:
On the front cover this book says not-for-parents but I think that it’s a great book for everyone with facts and information to interest ages 3-103. As well as facts there are also funny sections in it so you don’t get bored with just plain info. It is brightly coloured with photos and cartoon pictures that keep your attention throughout the book. This book makes you want to learn and read more about Australia. I loved the bit that said about making earrings out of koala bear poo and the part about which witchetty grub looks the yummiest! It literally tells you EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about Australia and I would like to see other books in the series
Megan age 11
The writing is very descriptive and well detailed. I think this book is also very funny and one of the best information books I have ever read. I have a a long list to say why I liked it but here is one.
In the book there are different things to tell you about but I picked out one in particular. It is the picture of a Great Land that shows different parts like England, Scotland, London and funny names like Silly Lane, Great Snoring and many more.
It is very funny to read and is fantastic. This book is great and fascinating. I think every child should read this book
Brooke age 9
After looking inside the books I didn’t want to put them down. They were both very informative and in places humourous with a play on words that, being a writer, I enjoy. Each book is very graphic led with photographs, sketches, cartoons and bite sized chunks of text. Fact boxes and speech bubbles get the facts across in a very child friendly (and adult friendly) manner.
There’s all kinds of interesting facts that appeal to kids and the kid in us adults. Koala bear poo earrings is the kind of fact they adore.
I learnt that the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom is Northern Ireland; it is a treasonable offence to stick a stamp with the Queen’s head on upside down; children are not allowed to fly kites, ring doorbells or slide on snow and ice because it is breaking the law.
I also learned what is fact and what is not about Britain and Australia’s best known outlaws Robin Hood and Ned Kelly; how history has shaped the countries that are the subject of each book; and the large than life characters that made Britain and Australia what they are. Some of the information is put across with those awful puns you groan at but always remember.
I think it is totally unfair that lonely planet have banned parents from these books. Why should the kids get all the fun? I wonder whether, like the Yorkie bar from Nestle, sales will increase because people like me will buy them supposedly for their children, but really to enjoy it after the kids are in bed?