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Saturday, December 6, 2008

review of The Little Man in the Map book from Schoolside Press

Little Man in the Map

This is a bright, vividly colorful, and catchy rhyming book about the 50 States of America. The premise of the book is teach children to locate and identify each state by using visual and auditory clues that are contained in the pages' rhymes; written by E. Andrew Martonyi and illustrated by Ed Olson.

The story begins in a fictional classroom where the assignment is to find a clue or shape for every state and use them to memorize the states. The fictional children soon realize that down the middle of the map is the profile of a man, complete from his hat (Minnesota) to his boot (Louisiana). They name him "MIM", which stands for "The Man Inside the Map". Looking to the left and right of the "man" the students soon see other "objects" that the states seem to form, such as his mitten (one of Michigan's peninsulas) to his trusty " Texas Longhorn chair", made by moving Oklahoma out of his way to sit down. By the time the children have read through this book a few times, its safe to say they should have a pretty good grasp of where many of the states are found. My children, especially my predominately visual son, found the book intriguing and read it repeatedly the first few days after its arrival. By the weeks end I was able to give my children a blank map of the US (there is one in the back of the book) and we orally filled in many states...correctly! Schoolside Press sent us this wonderful book, which has won awards and was a finalist in ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year Award. The company also has a few down loadable worksheets available that are useful for checking student progress. One of these is a crossword puzzle, which was actually very challenging.

This hardback book retails for $19.95 and to me, is well worth the cost if you are able to use it to teach these normally tedious and boring facts. It would make a nice gift for a teacher or to donate to your local library as well.

In the works also is another educational book called Clues for the State Capitals. "MIM" continues his adventures in our great nation there.

You can find these books online at

The company also invites your kids to visit their blog at http://www.frogsjumpusa.com/


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