Monday, December 15, 2008
The Little Man in the Map Book Review
The Little Man in the Map With Clues to Remember All 50 States is a book published by Schoolside Press. Written by E. Andrew Martonyi and illustrated by Ed Olson, the book seeks to use rhyming text and delightful illustrations to help students remember the names and locations of all 50 states in our nation. It has won both a Moonbeam Children's Book Award and an Independent Publisher Book Award and it was a finalist for Fort Worth Magazine's Book of the Year and Next Generation's Indie Book Award.
It's a proven fact that mnemonic devices, songs, and rhymes can help children organize and memorize information that might otherwise be difficult to learn. How many of you readers know the planets because of my very educated mother and her pizza pies? Or the order of operations for math because of my dear Aunt Sally? And to this day I can name all 50 states because of the song "Fifty Nifty United States" that I learned in elementary school. Remembering their locations however...well that might be a little trickier.
And that's where Mim comes in. Who is Mim? Why, he's the Little Man in the Map! In all my years, I had never noticed that Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana together make the shape of a man. Minnesota is his hat, Iowa his face, Missouri his shirt, Arkansas his pants, and Louisiana his boot. Go on, go look at a map. Really, it's there! And he even has a name. MinIow MisArkLou, or Mim for short.
After the students in the book discover Mim, he springs to life and helps them learn the other states with the help of rhymes and illustrations that fit the shape of each state as clues. It's really very clever.
My kids and I really enjoyed the rhyming text of this book and especially liked the illustrations. The book is beautifully published. Very professional. And a teacher's guide will soon be available. Free coloring pages are available from HERE to supplement the book. And a coordinating map is available for purchase.
The one downside is that I'm not really sure all the illustrations/text clues actually help you draw an association between the text/image and the state it represents. For example, I'm not sure "an elf complete with turned up nose and chimney patterned hat" really tells me anything that make me associate that description with the state of Idaho. And my children have yet to have a break-though moment where they remember even half the states. BUT, they do know more than they ever did. And some of the clues are quite good, like Mim, or UCAN for the four corners states, or MAGS for Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.
The bottom line is that this book is beautifully done inside and out. At $19.95 it would be a serious commitment out of my homeschooling budget, and like I said, I'm not sure ALL these clues will help children really remember where all the states are, although some certainly do, and if you repeat it enough you will probably have success. You guys know I'm thrifty (it sounds so much better than CHEAP, LOL). While I am thrilled to own this now, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have bought it for $20 had I jut come across it in a store or on the web.
Schoolside Press is currently offering free shipping for the holidays, so if you are interested in the book, now is the time to get it. To read what other TOS Crew members said about this book, go HERE.