The Bumper Book of London:Everything You Need to Know about London and More, by Becky Jones and Clare Lewis with drawings by (are you ready for this?) Edward, Isabella and Ottoline Martin, Alex, Harry and Freddie Crichton-Miller, and William and James Taylor
First of all, it’s red. Gorgeous, double-decker-bus red.
Next, it’s got lovely, creamy pages, crammed with beautiful colors that playfully romp about in letterings and illustrations and wiggly borders.
Then, there’s the contents. Of course, this should have come first, being an Informative Book…but this is the order you unfold this delightful package of goodness. This book has a crazy amount of fascinating, helpful, happy, and at times quirky, information about London. You get a brief history of London, given in short, snappy installments starting with Roman London, and continuing on through the Saxon and Viking eras, the Medieval ages, Tudor, Elizabethan, Stuart, Georgian, Regency, Victorian, Edwardian, and straight on through to Post-War London. Let me just say that although this is a children’s book, it’s perfectly profitable for all of us grown-ups who don’t quite have our Wars of the Roses and “When did Guy Fawkes try to blow things up?” straight. Brilliant.
Meanwhile, there’s loads of delicious scoops on everything from the Arts scene, to how Lyle’s Golden Syrup got its start, to the frost fairs that were once held on the Thames, to how many people ride the Tube on a given day (you won’t believe it!) If you’re lucky enough to actually be visiting London, there are lists of What to See that correspond to each historic period, and bonus Why-Didn’t-We-Know-About-This-When-We-Were-There?? lists with titles like “best cake shops”,” best old-fashioned sweets shops”, “best secret gardens” and most dangerous of all, “best shops for children’s books.”
Really fun “London by the numbers” statistics, historic bits, interesting little asides, bios of London’s most famous folks, quirky trivia — and all charmingly illustrated by the gaggle of names I’ve listed at the top of this post who happen to be the children (mostly) of the mums who wrote the book. Just fantastic.
Seriously, I would go to London again just to explore it with this book in hand. Of course, I would go to London at the drop of a hat Even if you can’t go, it’s a splendid introduction to one of the most awesome cities in the world for children through grown-ups. My highest recommendation!
Here’s the Amazon link: The Bumper Book of London: Everything You Need to Know about London and More