Review: Pop-Up London, 50 Beaches to Blow Your Mind, and Just Point, from Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet has diversified beyond the traditional travel book in recent years, with phrasebooks, pictorial and gift travel books, destination guides, as well as a whole section of travel entertainment for kids. We look at three of their new releases in this review.

cv_50_beaches50 Beaches to Blow Your Mind is a beach-a-page, pictorial book designed to give as a gift, or to appeal to the traveller who counts their overseas beach excursions and trips as worthy of nostalgia. What this book does well is to show off the wondrous variety of beaches that nature gifts us with in different environments around the world. Wild, windswept, calm, stunning, geographically cool, white sands, black sands and so on. By using classifications, the book is able to add variety to the beaches they profile, showing off different looks and different vibes.

In 50 Beaches to Blow Your Mind, we tour through beaches of Bliss: tropical desert island paradises, Dramatic: wild and unusual, Action: surfing and diving meccas, Discovery: beaches for combing and exploring, Parties: social and nightlife beaches, Encounters: wildlife and conservation hotspots, and Family: calm, safe all-rounders. Coromandel’s Hot Water beach features, along with a few Australian beaches, but it’s hard to believe that only one South American beach makes the list. Many featured are in North America, with a portion of Europe for good measure. Overall, this book is nice eye candy, and could be a fun gift for that person in your life who loves a good beach, but it’s really only a flick through once-add to bookshelf kind of read.

cv_just_pointJust Point is quite a fun and unique idea. It’s a pile of cards pinned together that fans out to reveal a bunch of illustrations to help you describe food and drink, transport, and accommodation. It’s designed to help you out of that awkward situation in a foreign country where you don’t know the language but are desperately trying to communicate that you need the bathroom, want to ask for the bill at the restaurant or need a hairdryer. Simply flick through the cards, find the picture of Pizza Toppings and eagerly point at the little pictures of olives, salami, anchovies and frown meaningfully at the picture of pineapple. You need never fear the foreign language waiter again.

I particularly like the picture on the Restaurant Complaints card – a slow tortoise carrying a tray of food on its back to a table, underneath a ticking clock. AKA Hurry up with my food. I’m not sure entirely how useful this tool is going to be, but I’ll be trying it out overseas in a few weeks; for better or worse.

cv_popup_londonPop-Up London is a colourful pop-up display book from Lonely Planet Kids. The book tours the reader through iconic landmarks in London.

I invited Wellington almost-5-year-old Lily Carlyle to review this book for me, with her mother Kat. Lily loved the pop-up aspect of the book, she thought the bright colours were very pretty and she really liked the map at the back. It was very short though, and without a story, Lily was left twiddling her thumbs after a minute. Improvising, Kat used the book to generate questions about where London was, the fact that a real princess (AKA Duchess Kate) lives there and then spent some 30 mins looking at pictures of princesses on the Net.

Perhaps Lonely Planet should incorporate a story in these pop-up books – a very good idea! Big thanks to Lily for her review.

Reviewed by Amie Lightbourne and Lily Carlyle

50 Beaches to Blow Your Mind (Lonely Planet) 9781760340599
Just Point – A Visual Dictionary for the Discerning Globetrotter (Lonely Planet)
Pop-Up London (Lonely Planet Kids) 9781760343392