Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Maps of Enchanted Places

posted by Nell Minow

The Awl has a wonderful illustrated story by Victoria Johnson featuring maps of the imaginary worlds of children’s literature.  The maps of The Phantom Tollbooth, The Princess Bride, Winnie the Pooh, The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, and more are as inviting as the stories that take place there.  And when the publisher and author neglect to include a map, sometimes the fans will supply their own.  Johnson points to some fan maps of the land in The Hunger Games.

I love this description of the map in The Princess Bride.  (If you are a fan of the movie and have not read the book — full title The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure — please give it a try.)  Johnson writes:



The map is a doozy—jammed full of details, landmarks, labels, and with no perspective whatsoever. I mean, the Sun is on this map. The trees are the same size as the ships.

As a map: The map is deliberately evoking the feel of a Medieval illuminated manuscript, as this is an exaggerated version of how many maps looked around the times of princesses and feudal castles. Though examples of these kingdom-level maps are abundant and accessible, I’d like to particularly draw your attention to collection of sixteenth-century maps of Jerusalem, made available by The Jewish National University Library. The gallery beautifully illustrates the diversity to be found in this type of region-specific map. While none of them include the Sun, like Goldman’s map, they often use multiple perspectives to show the mapped lands.


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Toby Clark

    The maps in the Deltora Quest books live up to the tradition – while the first cycle’s map was pretty minimal, only mentioning the titular locations of each of the eight books, it was pretty effective at introducing kids to the world – and it doesn’t hurt that it’s the same map the character is using.

    When the third cycle, “Dragons of Deltora”, came along, there was an updated and far more detailed map provided (to both the characters and the reader). Unfortunately, I can’t find a link to it.

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