A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this isn't a book that you'll want to read straight through. Instead, it's a book to explore, full of fascinating facts that encourages you to flip around, skipping to the information that most interests you and coming back again and again to the parts you missed.
What's the story?
There's no story here -- Peter Sis has simply taken lots of little facts for each of our 50 states (and Washington DC) and created a handy little guide for kids by plastering the info across boxcars. Each state's bird, tree, and flower are represented, but kids will also learn what each state considers a claim to fame. For example, the Tennessee boxcar features Elvis, and North Dakota shows us the International Peace Garden.
Is it any good?
There's a lot of information here, but it's presented in a fun, easy way that will turn kids on to state trivia. The book also encourages further research with little blurbs at the bottom of the page, like mentioning that Levi Strauss created blue jeans in 1853 to outfit prospectors in California. For kids who aren't sure where to start, parents can always flip straight to their home states and then flip around some more to find others that are familiar, like the one where Grandma was born or the one where Grandpa is living now.
Lots of interesting illustrations keep it entertaining while giving kids another way to memorize the info.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes each state unique. Each state has its own motto. What do the mottos mean? And how do they apply to our own lives?
Kids will like picking out the animals that are common to each state, too, and might want to find out more about, say, a butterfly called Dogface that is native to California!
Kids may be surprised by which states came first. Did you know that Georgia was a state before Massachusetts?
Budding birdwatchers might be fascinated by the state birds. Head to the library for a guide that has real photos and find out what birds are visiting your backyard or nearby park.
Kids might want to make a family poster similar to the illustrations
Sis made for each state. Families can come up with a family bird, a
family motto, and even a family flag!
For kids who love books about new places
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.