Moira Butterfield, Welcome to our World: A Celebration of Children Everywhere, Illustrated by Harriet Lynas

Nosy Crow, 2018, ISBN 978-1788001373

This appealing and very inclusive new book from Nosy Crow delivers on its subtitle: it truly is a celebration of children from all over the world. It is also a source of discovery and wonder. Each double page spread explores a theme such as clothes, games, music, classrooms, with attractively illustrated examples from a wide variety of different countries and cultures, often with words in the appropriate language and a simple guide to pronunciation. The 'Time to go to School' spread features ten methods of travel including rickshaw, donkey, zipwire, bicycle, each with a clear picture and a brief explanation. A taster of the contents page quickly dispels any notion that the style might be dry and didactic. There are titles like 'Stop ironing my head' and 'My tummy's rumbling'. That first one takes us to two pages of fascinating sayings from around the world. (For anyone who is wondering, 'Stop ironing my head' means 'Stop annoying me' in Armenian.) The 'My tummy's rumbling' section not only explains lots of different types of food but also gives us words for 'delicious' in eight different languages. Even more intriguingly, we learn seven ideas for curing hiccups.

Welcome to our World has a clear structure and is easy to understand. There is a useful introduction, a map of the world and an alphabetical list of the ninety-plus countries featured. Inevitably with a book of this kind the approach is in places somewhat simplistic, and I have qualms about the fact that children are often pictured wearing traditional clothes that in many cases have not been commonplace for generations - lederhosen for instance - although reference is made to clothes for special occasions being different to everyday ones. This will nevertheless be a worthwhile investment for pre-schools, schools and homes, an enjoyable vehicle for helping children find out both the similarities between humans and the ways in which we differ. It is a book that will spark discussion, empathy, curiosity and laughter.