Sunday, December 14, 2008

Review: The Little Man in the Map

The delightful book, The Little Man in the Map” by E. Andrew Martonyi is hands-down, the coolest, most entertaining tool to help children learn the names and location of all 50 States, ever.

True, it’s not a “packaged curriculum” which many of us homeschooling Moms gravitate toward. But I found this book to be far more effective than my twelve years of geography classes combined.

Immediately after reading the book, my youngest daughter simply HAD to call her best friend, Julianah to tell her all about MIM. "Get a map!" she exclaimed. "Now, look for the little man...he's very easy to find."

Now, unless you know what you're looking for, MIM isn't that easy to find. Especially not over the phone where you can't "see" what the other person is talking about.

I tried to explain this fact to Abby, suggesting she show her friend the book in person later in the week. But noooo; that involves patience. Something Abby has very little of.

"Ok, start with Minnesota...huh?...What do you mean you don't know where Minnesota is?! Oh my gosh!" ( she knew where it was before reading the book, right?) In the end, I'm pleased to report that her best friend did in fact find MIM, and all was well in the Land of Abby after that.

Now...back to the review!

The Little Man in the Map takes readers on a fun journey across the United States with a little help from “MIM” (Man Inside the Map—get it?), the story’s official tour guide. MIM comes to life when the children discover that the shapes of specific States (Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana) form the little man’s body and clothing.

Speaking in whimsical rhyme (reminiscent of Dr. Seuss but not as goofy), MIM teaches “his” readers to see pictures within the boundary lines of each State. The lush illustrations provided by Ed Olson serve as a powerful visual aid, making this book a superior alternative to a boring Geography textbook. (Something I was repeatedly stuck with during my entire academic career…)

The Little Man in the Map is a winner of The Independent Publishers and Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, as well as a Finalist in the Indie Book Awards Next Generation and ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award contests. (So if you don’t accept my word that this book is totally nifty, you can take theirs. Ha!)

This hardcover book is available separately for $19.95 or in a combo package with a coordinating wall map for $35.00 (wall map also sold separately). A handy Teacher’s Guide is currently in the works, and from the sneak peek I received, I can assure you that it’ll be well worth the wait.

Visit Schoolside and introduce your children to MIM, download free coloring pages, and place your order for this fabulous resource.

My children and I give “The Little Man in the Map” 2 thumbs way up! ;o)

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