“The most revolutionary geography-related book”
July 30, 2010
Mission:Explore is reviewed in the August edition of Geographical Magazine. This is what was said:
“Q. What’s small, orange and highly dangerous to read? A. Mission: Explore, the latest work from the Geography Collective, a disparate group of activists, teachers and academics who aim to change the public’s perception of geography. And they’re subverting our youngsters in the process!
Pocket-sized, snappily written and beautifully illustrated by Tom Morgan-Jones, Mission: Explore presents a series of 102 challenging missions to encourage young people to explore their social and physical environment through adventurous play. Designed to be read, scribbled on, illustrated, smeared, scratched and sniffed, it may just be the most revolutionary geography-related book ever published.
From an adult perspective, the safety briefing will be welcomed before youngsters jump into the missions themselves. This isn’t a textbook, however, and traditional schoolmaster-types may well experience a little scepticism. Where, for example, is the geography in ‘Turn to stone’ (freeze when someone with a beard looks at you)? What, if any, rationale could possibly underlie the even more surreal ‘Converse with a cow’? The collective plays with our preconceptions, challenges us to respond and, for a while, makes us forget that this is a children’s book.
In the hands of its intended audience, young explorers are encouraged to engage with a wide range of geographical practices. Several of the challenges involve map-making, while others require a creative or emotional response. Some teeter into the realm of psychogeography: ‘Go somewhere new’ (just to see what’s there). I loved the playfully subversive ‘Be on TV’ (act out a play in front of a CCTV camera).
Geography teachers might find themselves being inspired to think a
little differently when planning fieldwork activities. An environmental quality survey in the local area would be greatly enhanced if the housewith the most attractive garden received a certificate through the door as suggested by ‘Discover the best garden’.
There’s an accompanying website with sample material from the book. Look carefully and you might even discover the inspiration behind ‘Converse with a cow’.
Mission: Explore is highly recommended for young and old alike.
We are delighted with this review… thank you Noel! If you’ve not got one yet then now is a great time to go and buy a copy.