Horrible Geography

Horrible Geography
Horrible Geography  
Redesigned front cover of the title Freaky Peaks

The redesigned front cover of Freaky Peaks (2001).
Author(s) Anita Ganeri
Illustrator Mike Phillips
Cover artist Mike Phillips
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject(s) Geography
Genre(s) Children's
Publisher Scholastic
Publication date 1999-present

Horrible Geography is a series of books which is a spin-off of the Horrible Histories series written by Anita Ganeri, illustrated by Mike Phillips, and published in the UK by Scholastic. They are designed to get children interested in Geography by concentrating on the trivial, unusual, gory, or unpleasant. The series currently has 19 titles, including specials and handbooks. [1]



As an answer to the question "Where do you get your inspiration from when you're writing a book [in the Horrible Geography series]?" in an interview off the Schlostic website, Anita Ganeri responded:

Well, geography is about the world around you so I spend a lot of time staring out of my window! In between staring, I get information from books, TV programmes, magazines and the internet. I am also a member of the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) in London. It's where all the great geographical expeditions of the past set out from. They have a fantastic library and lots of things belonging to explorers like Captain Scott (included stuffed penguins) and David Livingstone (including his diary, boots etc). The trouble is, finding out about deserts or poles etc is so fascinating, I tend to get carried away and do far more research than I can cram into the book.[2]

Titles in Progress


  • Dinosaur Magnet Activity Book - June
  • Creepy Caves
  • Horrible Geography Handbook: Farming
  • Special: Mad Maps
  • Scary Cities and Terrible Towns

Titles in the series

Original Titles

  • Bloomin' Rainforests (2001) - (Rainforests)
  • Cracking Coasts (22 May 2006) - (Coasts)
  • Desperate Deserts (2000) - (Deserts)
  • Earth-Shattering Earthquakes (17 November 2000) - (Earthquakes)
  • Freaky Peaks (2001) - (Mountain Peaks)
  • Monster Lakes (2005) - (Lakes)
  • Odious Oceans (1999) - (Oceans)
  • Perishing Poles (2002) - (The Poles)
  • Raging Rivers (2000) - (Rivers)
  • Stormy Weather (1999) - (Storms)
  • Violent Volcanoes (1999) - (Volcanoes)
  • Wild Islands (16 April 2004) - (Islands)


Specials are a bigger size than the other books. They are:

  • Intrepid Explorers (19 September 2003) - (Explorers)
  • The Horrible Geography of the World (2007) - (The World)


  • Wicked Weather (2008) - (Weather)
  • Wild Animals (7 January 2008) - (Animals)
  • Planet in Peril (1 June 2009) - (Global Warming)
  • Vile Volcanoes (3 May 2010) - (Volcanoes)
  • Perilous Poles (4 Oct 2010) - (The Poles)

Two Books in One

  • Desperate Deserts and Bloomin' Rainforests (10 December 2004) - (Rainforests and Deserts)
  • Raging Rivers and Odious Oceans (2001) - (Rivers and Oceans)
  • Violent Volcanoes and Earth-Shattering Earthquakes (2002) - (Volcanoes and Earthquakes)
  • Freaky Peaks and Perishing Poles (2007) - (Mountains and the Poles)


  • Awesome Atlas Jigsaw Book (Board book) - 6 April 2009 [1]

Book Makeover

Recently, in order to follow suit with the other main series in the Horrible saga - namely Horrible Histories, Horrible Science and Murderous Maths, the Horrible Geography series decided to have a book makeover, changing the cover of all their books in a new, more aesthetically-pleasing manner. All of the original books have been altered, though none of the Two Books in One have.

Critical Reception

The books have received positive reception as a whole series, as well as significant praise on individual books of the series. In a review of Desperate Deserts it has been commented that "This book is great and I love it. The desert is amazing. I used to think that geography was boring but now I have definitely changed my mind!" [3], and in another review, "Desperate Deserts along with the other Horrible Geography books, compile a series of great entertaining fun yet educational books written with children in mind and their natural curiosity...The only problem with providing Desperate Deserts for children is they will be guaranteed to want to read the rest of the Horrible Geography books."

Impact of Series

Title Earth-Shattering Earthquakes and Violent Volcanoes is described by Margaret Mallett in her book Choosing and Using Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11 as being a book that "entertains as well as providing quality explanations for phenomena". The title is further describes as being "organised in ten chapters" and "[using] clear dagrams and clear text and includes detail that will entertain children".[4]

Creative Writing For Dummies by Maggie Hamand explains that the Scholastic series, along with Horrible Histories and Horrible Science have been hugely popular with children. "They aim to provide accurate factual information in an entertaining way, in an inexpensive paper format with black and white illustrations".[5]

According to The Oxford encyclopedia of children's literature: Dubo - Lowr, Volume 2 Jack David Zipes, Anita Ganeri's series (debuting in 1997), along with Nick Arnold series Horrible Science (debuting in 1996), Kjartan Poskitt's Murderous Maths series (debuting in 1997), and the multi-authored The Knowledged series (debuting in 1997) "follow in the same vein [as]" and "treat their subject with similar humour [to]" Horrible Histories.[6]

Travel with Kids by William Gray describes the series as "geographical gems in this amusing series of paperbacks for children aged seven and above".[7]

According to Growing and knowing: a selection guide for children's literature by Mary Trim, "Middle Years readers...who contributed their book review to this text" enjoy the Horrible Geography along with The Knowledge and Murderous Maths.[8]

Mesoamerican Myth: A Treasury of Central American Legends, Art, and History refers to Horrible Geography as being an "award winning..series"[9]


  1. ^ De Groot, Jerome (2009). "Notes". Consuming history: historians and heritage in contemporary popular culture. Routledge. pp. 258. http://books.google.com/books?id=73IkpYmgC5AC&pg=PA258&dq=%22Horrible+Geography%22&hl=en&ei=hkEQTs3ALKOLmQXqlrGrDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CD0Q6AEwBDgU#v=onepage&q=%22Horrible%20Geography%22&f=false. Retrieved July 03, 2011. 
  2. ^ http://www.moon-monkey.com/zone/authors_a-ganeri_interview.htm
  3. ^ http://www.shvoong.com/books/children-and-youth/1846836-desperate-deserts-horrible-geography
  4. ^ Mallett, Margaret (2010). "Chosing explanation texts for different age groups". Choosing and Using Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11: A Comprehensive Guide for Teachers and Student Teachers. Routledge. pp. 320. http://books.google.com/books?id=5b6hSSFDIJEC&pg=PA320&dq=%22Horrible+Geography%22&hl=en&ei=ru0PTu6KC6jbmAWRroTaAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CEgQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=%22Horrible%20Geography%22&f=false. Retrieved July 03, 2011. 
  5. ^ Hamand, Maggie. "Considering Non-Fiction for Children". Creative Writing For Dummies. http://books.google.com/books?id=i-mtBsxTUOcC&pg=PT179&dq=%22Horrible+Geography%22&hl=en&ei=ru0PTu6KC6jbmAWRroTaAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CE0Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=%22Horrible%20Geography%22&f=false. Retrieved July 03, 2011. 
  6. ^ Zipes, Jack David (2006). "The Oxford encyclopedia of children's literature: Dubo - Lowr, Volume 2". Oxford University Press. pp. 288. http://books.google.com/books?id=VD4OAQAAMAAJ&q=%22Horrible+Geography%22&dq=%22Horrible+Geography%22&hl=en&ei=wu0PToz6EPCMmQXY79DFDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDEQ6AEwATgK. Retrieved July 03, 2011. 
  7. ^ Gray, William. "30 Best Buys". Travel with Kids. http://books.google.com/books?id=vpVtXf18GFkC&pg=PA41&dq=%22Horrible+Geography%22&hl=en&ei=d0EQTszDLoqOmQWj1dzGDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=%22Horrible%20Geography%22&f=false. Retrieved July 03, 2011. 
  8. ^ Trim, Mary (2004). "Growing and knowing: a selection guide for children's literature". pp. 154. http://books.google.com/books?id=PmPhAAAAMAAJ&q=%22Horrible+Geography%22&dq=%22Horrible+Geography%22&hl=en&ei=d0EQTszDLoqOmQWj1dzGDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CFEQ6AEwCDgK. Retrieved July 03, 2011. 
  9. ^ Ganeri, Anita (2007). "Mesoamerican Myth: A Treasury of Central American Legends, Art, and History". M E SHARPE INC. http://books.google.com/books?id=lqFWAAAAYAAJ&q=%22Horrible+Geography%22&dq=%22Horrible+Geography%22&hl=en&ei=hkEQTs3ALKOLmQXqlrGrDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAjgU. Retrieved July 03, 2011. 

External links

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