As a blogger, I am often very excited when I hear the mail drop through the letter box (or better still a courier delivery), and I often gasp, “oooh, mystery happy post, how exciting!”
So a when the latest mysterious box arrived via courier (cue happy squeal), I tore open the package to then have the book immediately snatched away from me by my toddler. He proceeded to thumb through the pages, pointing gleefully at all the colourful illustrations.
The 50 States, written by Gabrielle Balkin and beautifully illustrated by Sol Linero, is a large, hard-backed book that allows you to explore 50 fact-filled, simplified state maps which are peppered with beautiful images of local momuments and wildlife; and have key facts and moments of history and culture that capture the essence of each state.
The contents page is a great start as the first map documents each state with reference to the page numbers in the book. The back of the book also beautifully illustrates each state flag which was great for my son, he definitely loves to ‘visually learn’ and this book certainly delivers when it comes to ‘visual learning’.
As a starting point, we decided to concentrate on the state of Pennsylvania, and in particular one of the largest cities in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. This was because we had recently had a visit from a friend who lives in Philadelphia, and being able to explain to my son that, “this is where Kristen is from”, and the key facts, history etc really enabled my son to relate to the information on the page.
The moments to remember and key facts, in particular, “Philly food” were great to read and discuss and it helped us to reference conversations we had had with our friend regarding the famous, ‘hoagies’ and ‘cheesesteaks’ which they are so fond of in Philly.
There are also lovely little images of famous people, such as Billie Holiday – who was born in Philly- and Taylor Swift, who sang at the Philly 76ers game at the age of 12. These little additions bring a lot of fun and very up-to-date referencing to each state.
We then moved onto a number of different states, each detailing the key facts, moments to remember and lots more descriptive and engaging introductions to each one.
The 50 States will take pride of place on our coffee table, so my son and/or any guests can peruse this at any time (which they already have might I add!). This book definitely sparks the imagination but also sparks great conversation.
My son is 3 and 1/2 years old, so whilst I feel this book is a little too advanced for him at the moment, over time I know he will grow with this book – as will his knowledge of the 50 US states.
I would love to see a UK version with the same concept; maps, facts, moments to remember etc as I’m sure my friend in Philly would like to gain a little more knowledge of the UK, in the same way we as a family are learning about America.
Disclaimer: I was sent this book for the purpose of the review. All opinions and views are my own.