smithsonian 50 states book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

When you think of geography, what are the words that come to mind? When I was in elementary school, I remember it as being boring, meaningless and tedious. As a child, it didn’t connect to my small world. Other than family vacations to other states, I had no real concept that the geography of a country could vary so widely. Why could we pick apples in our backyard but not oranges? Why did the water in our lakes taste so different than the salty ocean? Don’t get me wrong, we learned the answers to these questions, but the maps filled with words were so far removed from the concrete realm of childhood that they just didn’t mean much.

So, when I saw the Smithsonian Young Explorers: 50 States, I knew I was looking at something that would make sense to a child with limited exposure to the vast offerings of our great country. Packaged in a cute suitcase style box, it contains a map, a puzzle and a booklet of trivia about each state. The 27”x19” map poster and 130 piece 24”x18” puzzle have the same image. Hang one on the wall and use it to familiarize your child with U.S. geography every day. What I really like about this map image is the way it pairs words and pictures for a very child friendly experience. The pictures on the map indicate agricultural crops grown there, common animals or industries in that state. Each state is also marked with its name and capital. What makes it really educational is the 32 page Fact Book that is also included.

Every state has its own trivia. Want to know the nickname or state mammal of South Dakota? It’s here, along with the state capital, bird, flower and date of statehood for it and every other state. Children will enjoy learning about famous people from their state along with special historical facts that make their locale special. I would highly recommend this resource as a great way to introduce children to the geography of the 50 states in a way that is relevant and fun. Recommended for ages 6 and up, this set would be ideal for parents to enjoy along with their child.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Silver Dolphin Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.