TOS Crew: The Little Man in the Map

TOS Crew

Here’s another product new to me, that I found out about through being a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The Little Man in the Map, published by Schoolside Press, is a colorful, fun, charming picture book that will help your little ones (and not-so-little) memorize the names and placement of the 50 United States. It’s perfect for elementary-aged learners.

Have you ever looked at something, and seen something else? You might lie on your back on a summer’s day, the grass tickling the back of your neck, watching the puffs of clouds in the sky. There’s a dog, and there’s a duck, and those are dolphins, and see the horse! You might have seen those abstract-looking pictures that conceal a three-dimensional image, if you can only get your brain to relax enough to see it! You might have played with optical illusions. Is the dancer spinning to the left, or to the right? Is that a picture of a vase, or two faces? Is that a beautiful lady, or a duck?

Whimsical Approach

The author and illustrator of The Little Man in the Map have taken just such a playful approach to U.S. Geography. When you look at a US map in just the right way, a little man with a tall hat and big boots jumps out at you. Well, in the book he literally “jumps out” and gives a tour of the states and regions, using jingles, rhymes, and mnemonics to help with memorization of state names and placement.

Although our girls already had a grasp of US Geography I noticed improvement in their times and accuracy, playing geography games after going through The Little Man in the Map. If your children have not yet started to learn US geography, this book would make a good introduction to the subject. Even if they have already learned it, The Little Man in the Map makes for fun reinforcement.

Rhyme and Reason

The lively pictures are colorful and just silly enough to bring a smile. The storyline starts with a classroom of students who are tackling geography. At first they are dismayed, hearing that they have to learn the names of all the states in just a week, but their clever teacher sparks their imaginations and soon the enthusiasm runs high. “Imagination is the magic key/To help unlock the clues you need to learn geography.” Suddenly the little man they’ve imagined jumps out of the map to help!

It’s fun to look at old things in new ways; to look at states and think about what their shapes remind us of. It’s also a well-known memory technique. This playful text does just that!

Teacher’s Helps

Also available is a Teacher’s Guide with activities for children from preschool to Grade 6. Some of these span the range of ages, while others are divided according to age group. You’ll find discussion prompts, writing, singing, math, acting, games, and art among the activities.

Visit the author’s blog, FrogsJumpUSA for more geography fun!

The Little Man in the Map is available for $19.95 at Schoolside Press, and you can even get an autographed copy upon request.

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