Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Review: The Little Man in the Map

Do you ever look at something and think, "Wow, that person is thinking WAY too hard about something that's really pretty simple?"

Well, that was me with The Little Man in the Map.

Centered around the idea of teaching children the names and locations of all fifty of the United States, this book takes what ought to be a fairly rote, straightforward process and makes it more complicated than I ever thought possible.

To be honest, I have to say that I've already taught my children the fifty states and the capitals. Using the Audio Memory "States and Capitals" CD, my kiddos picked up the states in no time. And when I say no time, I mean in
days. From there, the task of locating them on a map was a simple case of pointing them out on a map every day for maybe a week. No biggie. We even threw in the flags because Logan was interested.

It was really no. big. deal.

But with
The Little Man in the Map, it seems like a tall order. The premise is that there's a little man, see. And he's in the map. Got it? But he comes to life. And he tells you what each state is ... all in relation to himself and his location. Like ... he's sitting on Texas. After he scoots another state out of the way, of course. With me?

Yeah, my kids weren't, either.

Jo was dumbfounded by the whole idea. While she could locate the "man," she had no clue why he was necessary. Atticus was perplexed, trying his hardest to squint hard enough to make Kentucky look like a field of bluegrass ... and figure out why the "man" would have bluegrass over by his table, anyhow. (You've got to read the book to get this.) Logan summed it all up by saying that if New York was a flashlight, it must be a
broken one.

So, no ... I can't recommend this book. But I can recommend a little time spent with an actual map. It'll pay off. Trust me.


Lisa said...

Ok...I'm delurking...
Please tell me where you got the Audio Memory States and Capitals CD's?????
I'm totally sold on the multiplication stories!

Lorri (from Sonlight) said...

MG, would you consider writing for The Homeschool Classroom? We're always looking for writers- weekly, bi-monthly and guest writers. I've been thinking for awhile that you'd be a great addition to our team, and then your last 2 reviewed products were recently reviewed there, too and it prompted me to finally ask you.

Here's the link: The Homeschool Classroom

Civilla said...

They used to have a board game when we were kids in the '50's or '60's called Meet the Presidents. It helped us to learn all of the U.S. presidents. You could probably get one on e-bay, but it would be very out of date.