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Lonely Planet Travel Guide for China Review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright

Damien Harper, Steve Fallon, Katja Gaskell, et al.
Lonely Planet
150 Linden Street
Oakland, CA 94607
800-275-8555
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/

Lonely Planet's Travel Guide for China ($29.99) demonstrates why this company is a recognized leader for first-class travel guides. We have never been to China and have no immediate plans to travel to this vast and fascinating culture, so you may wonder why I was excited to review this book. I was hoping that this guide would be a treasure trove of interesting information that could be used in our homeschool studies, and it definitely was all that and more. While I did not read the entire 980 pages, the book covered so many fascinating topics that it was hard to put down!

The book opens with almost 100 pages of beautiful color pictures and detailed information about China's history, culture, foods, religions, etc. There are also detailed itineraries for possible tours, depending on your interest, such as a history tour, China's sacred sites tour, or a world heritage tour. This section is followed by nearly 700 pages of detailed information about major cities and areas, such as transportation, lodging, foods, customs, places to visit, entertainment, color photographs, history, and area maps. Finally, there is a 70-page Directory that includes general information about the climate, transportation across China, visas, traveling with children, money, legal matters, customs, time zones, and even toilets.

Obviously, anyone planning a trip to China would likely find the information invaluable. I was particularly impressed with the language guides throughout the book that would help the reader learn just enough Chinese to get into, or stay out of, trouble. But how could homeschooling families benefit from this travel guide? Perhaps the most important benefit for homeschooling families comes from the detailed historical, cultural, and geographical information about China. We learned a tremendous amount about this fascinating country, and we will also keep the book on our shelf for quick reference. Because of the large size of the book, you may have to do a bit of searching to find the information you need, but we found the chapters to be well thought out and very organized. We also found the information, overall, to be balanced, informative, and very interesting. Lonely Planet also has a wonderful website (www.lonelyplanet.com) with even more helpful information that would also be a great resource for homeschooling families. I heartily recommend this guide for any families who want to study this fascinating culture or plan a trip to China!

Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2007

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