LOTS – fuel for observant, curious collectors

posted in: Marc Martin | 7

We’ve all had experiences of children as acute observers, spotting details that simply passed us adults by unawares.

I think we’ve also all met children who have adored collecting – whether that be sticks, my little ponies or Pokemon cards – sometimes simply for the satisfaction of being able to organise them.

The insatiable curiosity of children is another truth; kids soaking up knowledge and facts and demanding to know more is one of the loveliest things to experience as a grown-up.

Feeding and satisfying these three characteristics in young readers, LOTS by Marc Martin (@marc_martin) is an eye-catching, exhilarating ride round the globe, ideal for (encouraging) perceptive, enthusiastic young citizens of the world, hungry for quirky facts and figures.

A sampler of breathtaking places, surprising details, and less typically celebrated facts about life in 14 different locations across all continents, LOTS is a visual banquet that will leave you hungry to go exploring, amazed at the richness and variety and full technicolour glory of the planet we live on.

Each double page spread is dedicated to one location, with information (written and illustrated) flowing off and over the edges of each page, introducing aspects of local flora, fauna, food, geography, transport, commerce, architecture and even facial hair and body language! It’s a travel guide tasting menu, similarly aiming to excite, surprise and suggest. A starting point to induce awe and itchy feet!

The sheer illustrative detail (can you imagine drawing all the 198 cyclists taking part in the Tour de France? A 30-strong flock of flamingoes? 100 hanging street signs?) is mind-boggling and marvellous. The rich colours add to the intensity created simply by the abundance of everything on each page. And for those who want the thrill of the hunt, every page has a hidden flag and the narrator of the book waiting to be spotted.

Here’s how the book’s creator, Marc Martin, describes it:

Marc Martin

“As you might have noticed, LOTS is a little bit different from other non-fiction picture books. It’s part fact-book and part travel-diary, so there were a multitude of things to consider when putting it together. When I first started working on the concept, I tried to think about the things that interest me when I visit a new place – and I noticed it wasn’t just the usual tourist destinations that make somewhere unique – it’s the quirky little details, the cultural differences and the flora and fauna that really excite me. I’ve included plenty of facts and figures about each location, but there are also personal observations and an attempt to capture some of the more unusual and particular things about each place. Luckily I’d travelled to about half of the locations in the book, so some of the observations were first hand (I can verify that Godzilla really does have bad breath), whilst others are a combination of research and personal accounts from friends who’d been to those places. The watercolour, gouache and pencil illustrations combined with hand-written text aim to reflect a feeling of spontaneity, immediacy and familiarity that I hope will spark the curiosity of readers to explore further!”

Vibrant and wonder inducing, we’ve taken LOTS to our hearts. Martin’s illustrations packed with lots of tiny people left us wanting to re-create 3D versions of them, so…

…with the help of a few railway model figures and a year’s supply ( 😉 ) of corks from empty wine bottles…

…plus some green card from which we cut out variously shaped tree canopies…

…we used some tacky glue to create a LOTS inspired landscape…

…filled with LOTS of little people…

…and LOTS of trees…

LOTS of people having fun (can you spot anyone who’s fallen over, perhaps as a result of facilitating the cork supply needed for this project?!)…

…and a fair few hugs.

Music which you might enjoy alongside this book includes:

  • All Things I Found by Frances England, from her album Explorer of the World
  • All Around the World by Ralph’s World
  • What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong


  • Other activities which would go well with the book include:

  • Making your own LOTS inspired drawing, including the things in your local community which you find LOTS of. Maybe that’s scooters? Cats? Or even dog poo?! If your children don’t enjoy drawing, they could use stickers to create pictures with lots and LOTS of their favourite things.
  • Reading this interview with Marc Martin on the Picture Book Makers blog or listening to this podcast with Marc about finding and making work you love, on Art Pro’s website.
  • Crafting globes to plan imaginary trips around the world. I love the simplicity of this coffee filter globe and this globe luminary

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by its publisher, Big Picture Press.

    Today’s post is part of a blog tour celebrating LOTS, also featured on Picture Books Blogger, The Book Sniffer, Book Lover Jo, Serendipity Review, Magpie That and Minerva Reads.

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    7 Responses

    1. Zoe, this is so, utterly, lovely, all of it and I adore it.
      Daisy Johnson recently posted..Fish Boy : Chloe Daykin

    2. […] my word… would you look at LOTS on Playing by the Book… you have to scroll down, I love their lots of people […]

    3. What a wonderful book with LOTS to get lost in! I am wondering if this may be a good option for my 8 year old budding explorer too 🙂 Amazon Rainforest, Tokyo & Paris aside, are you able to give a sneaky peak into the other places Marc Martin looks at?
      Rebecca Stonehill recently posted..New Adventures in Self-Publishing

      • yes, perhaps Rebecca. There’s not a great deal of text – mostly just labels, but the illustrations are wonderful.

    4. Just to clarify Zoe, not expecting you to put more photos up , just a quick heads up in words of other locations explored x
      Rebecca Stonehill recently posted..New Adventures in Self-Publishing

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