21 APRIL 1933, Page 26

THE STORY ATLAS Edited by John Stirling

It is hard to believe that the map of Great Britain, or any other map, is improved by being denuded of all but five names, and having several little aeroplanes drawn crawling upon it. Any person of normal intelligence might find London, or even Glasgow, in an ordinary atlas, and, being told that he was to follow an aerial tour round the world, might take the aeroplanes for granted. The Story Atlas (Ivor Nicholson and Watson, 31s. 6d.) would be much better if It did not pretend to be an atlas, but stuck to its story. It would then appear what it really is, another Junior Outline of Everything, told to the Grown-Ups. There is so much that is good in it that the atlas part is peculiarly irritating. Sketch-maps are necessary, and some of the sketch-maps are excellent ; but, generally speaking, an indeterminate, " artistic " map with waves in the sea or a picture of a bear, or Napoleon, or a rainbow, in one corner, is not going to teach anyone either geography or history. The scope of the book is enormous. It begins with the origin of the solar system, and ends with the administration of Australia. It is on large, well-printed pages, and has magnificent photographs of any. thing from the ring-tailed lemur to Leonardo da Beatrice d'Este. Particularly interesting sections are " The Golden Ages of the World," " Animals of To-day in their Homes," and " How the World of To-day is Governed " but the whole book is expertly written, and guaranteed (apart from the maps) to entertain readers of all ages. Whether it will educate is another matter : unless, indeed, as compilers of outlines seem al time to believe, wisdom is to be attained, M odd_ half-hours by treating education as a parlour game.