You wake up. You’re outside, laying on hard ground. The sky above is blue, with fast moving clouds. You have no memory of falling asleep anywhere but in your own bed, and you have no idea where you are.
You look for hints. The road is dark gray asphalt. The lines running along its center are white and broken into long strips. The dirt off the shoulder is a reddish brown. A car passes. The model looks familiar but the license plate is blurred, offering no clues.
You stand and find yourself uninjured. Where the hell are you? You walk east, keeping the sun out of your eyes as the shadows lengthen, and eventually you spot a road sign. It’s in Spanish. That narrows it down to around 22 countries where Spanish is used.
Barefoot Books World Atlas ($8) is a kind of digital globe for children, giving them easy access to a simplified cartoon overview of the whole world.
From the orbital view (for want of a better word), you see the globe peppered with hundreds of colorful icons. Spin the globe and zoom in. The little icons grow and become tappable controls. Each one reveals a snippet of information in text and audio form (read aloud by the UK’s favorite TV geographer (yes, we have those), Nick Crane). There’s also a photo to look at for each fact, which is often much more informative than the icon was to start with.